Excerpted from the Huffington Post - 12/14/09 -
We get it with race in the context of theater this way, but not with disability. Whenever a protagonist is disabled, it is more likely than not that a non-disabled actor will play the part. Recently there was uproar in the Deaf community over a New York adaptation of Carson McCuller's "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" in which the central character Singer who is deaf and mute is played by a hearing actor. And disabled actors protested the use of sighted Abigail Breslin in a production of the life of Helen Keller when a blind actress might have done the job as well if not better. The television program "Glee" is receiving critiques because, although it includes a singing and dancing wheelchair user, the actor who plays the part isn't disabled. And Larry David has come under fire for his use of not one but ...
Excerpted from the Huffington Post - 12/14/09 -Chicago, IL- Have you noticed that almost no actors who play Othello blacken their faces anymore? Of course not, blackface is considered distasteful at best and racist at worst. Nowadays Othello is routinely played by an actor of color or the color issue might be highlighted in a different way, as in a recent production directed by Peter Sellars, in which Othello and Desdemona were played by white actors while all the other cast members were of color.
The issue isn't purely ideological. There are an increasing number of actors with disabilities who have trouble getting parts and for whom these major roles would be a great opportunity. According to a recent article in The Hollywood Reporter, out of a total of 600 characters on television shows in a given season, only 12 will have a disability. And of those, most will be played by non-disabled actors. A third of disabled actors have faced active discrimination by being denied auditions or not being cast in a role because of their disability.
Read the entire article at http://www.InclusionDaily.com/news/2009/red/1214d.htm