Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reinventing History: Eddie George To Play The Role Of Julius Caesar In The Nashville Shakespeare Festival Even Though Caesar Was White

Remember the flap over Idris Elba, a black actor chosen to play the Nordic god Heimdall in Thor? A similar flap has been stirred up over the selection of Eddie George to play the role of Julius Caesar in the Nashville Shakespeare Festival which takes place through January 29th, 2012.

The Nashville Tennessean completely ignores the racial dichotomy and breach of historicity in the selection of a Black man to play a White man in a historical role. Instead, they focus upon his "commanding presence" and "strong voice"; Denice Hicks, the festival’s artistic director, says she was thoroughly impressed by how dedicated George is to the craft of acting. Education Director Megan Nussle suggests that it will help students to see a "real man" play a historical figure, focusing on the fact that George is a former NFL player and that male athletes are viewed as role models for masculinity. The play will be seen by up to 3,000 students in school-day matinees aside from the evening and Sunday shows. Here is a 31-second promo via ThePostGame:

It is unfortunate that someone like Eddie George is at the center of this controversy. George defies most of the negative stereotypes about Black people. He had a productive NFL career and behaved responsibly off the field. Since his retirement from the NFL, he has uncovered and developed other talents; he earned an MBA and has launched an acting career. But the breach of historicity in selecting him to play the role of a White historical figure cannot be ignored. I seriously doubt that William Shakespeare envisioned Julius Caesar as a Black man. This selection would pass muster only if this production was either a parody or an alternate history portrayal.

One must also wonder how the NAACP would react to Bruce Willis playing the role of Martin Luther King Jr. or how the ADL would react to Mel Gibson playing the role of Elie Wiesel in historical productions.

Public Reaction: Although the Tennessean studiously ignores the racial dichotomy, some of its readers called attention to it. Some comments posted below:

Justin Bauman, Overland Park, Kansas January 10th 7:00 A.M:
I wonder how black people would feel if we portrayed a white MLK Jr.

Glenn S. Glashower, Nsw Tech January 8th 10:49 P.M:
What a load of crap!

More critical comments are posted on Stormfront. A new thread has just been started on the F2 Anon board, which isn't a WN board, but is white-friendly.


Anonymous said...

Hey, let's take a very famous black play, by a legendary world renowned black dramatist, and make the main character White! Like um.....oh wait, there are no great black plays or playwrights. Blacks have nothing that is anyhwere near the level of Shakespeare. The closest they have is probably Tyler Perry. Who's up for a stage version of Madea Goes on Welfare?

josef H said...

you aint seen it all yet: the late and great edward woodward will be reinterpreted this summer in the EQUALIZER movie, by ... denzel washington!