Dramatic Club Casting More Minorities
HRDC Announces Aim of Larger Auditions, Less Intimidation
In response to calls for greater minority representation in campus theater, the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatics Club (HRDC) this week announced a program including postering, workshops and the production of two plays intended to attract a diverse cast.
Few minorities audition for roles in Common Casting, a joint effort by directors to audition actors for about 35 plays each semester, said HRDC president Nestor M. Davidson '90. In addition, directors may be reluctant to cast some plays "untraditionally."
"The feeling we've been getting is that minorities are intimidated and feel like we would shut them out," Davidson said, adding that he has seen "no more that ten" minority students audition for a particular play. He said that the group's efforts are an attempt to end the "homogeneity" of Harvard theater.
"So far, it has been one color, basically," he said.
This week, HRDC members put up posters around campus to alert minorities to Common Casting. Later this month, during Actively Working Against Racism and Ethnocentrism (AWARE) week, they will hold a workshop addressing the problem of making "racial choices in casting," Davidson said.
In addition, HRDC will produce two plays--Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera and a play adapted from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Chronicle of a Death Foretold-- both designed to showcase minority actors.
But when making casting decisions for plays by such authors as Shakespeare, directors must balance historical accuracy and theatrical diversity, the HRDC president said. "For example, when a Black student is cast in a nineteenth-century Chekhov role, that is an anomaly. You can choose to ignore the anomalies or make a statement with them."
But Director Manson Yew '90 said castingminority actors in plays with traditionally whiteroles is not a problem.
"I don't think that's what keeps minoritiesaway," Yew said. "Minorities tend to beethnocentric, so they keep themselves fromopportunities in drama."
One student auditioning last night said sheacted in a Japanese play last semester in whichwhite students played the roles of Asians. "But,"added Ann Lin '90, "It's interesting how mostplays are kind of segregated, especially when youconsider how diverse Harvard is."
Hilda M. Alexander '90, president of theMexican-American group Raza, said the drive wasthe first she had seen for recruiting minoritystudents into plays and heralded it as a positivedevelopment. And Jeffrey C. Yang '89, editor ofEastwind, a campus Asian magazine, called theeffort "long overdue.