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Michael Roberts
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 20 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13257
Posted: 28 June 2020 at 7:08pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

 Michael Penn wrote:
Perhaps because HAMILTON is the story of one America's 
Founders, set naturally among other Founders, diversity 
casting that retains true-to-the-era sets and costumes is 
a way to allow non-white Americans to stake a claim in a 
new, vital way to that history?

Exactly. 

In an era where we are reevaluating our relationship with American icons because of issues of racism and slave ownership, highlighting ways non-white American can relate to our Founding Fathers is arguably a good thing.
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Michael Roberts
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 20 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13257
Posted: 28 June 2020 at 7:10pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

 Eric Sofer wrote:
I see at least one direction that this is going. I'll select animation, since that's the Simpsons' base. We start getting animated series that don't have any black characters, any Indian characters, any female characters, etc. No conflict, no cost for extra voice actors, no worries about exclusion or suppression... just guys (or animals) doing their bits. Oh, maybe a day-actor if you need a female. But if you need an exotic actor... make 'em green or blue.


Or they could just hire more diverse actors? Crazy, I know.


Edited by Michael Roberts on 28 June 2020 at 7:11pm
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Neil Lindholm
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Joined: 12 January 2005
Location: China
Posts: 4683
Posted: 28 June 2020 at 7:11pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Too dangerous. In today’s climate, anything can set off the crowd. 


Edited by Neil Lindholm on 28 June 2020 at 7:11pm
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Michael Roberts
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Joined: 20 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13257
Posted: 28 June 2020 at 7:22pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply


 QUOTE:
Too dangerous. In today’s climate, anything can set off the crowd.

Oh no! People get called out on Twitter by marginalized voices! They have to deal with a mirror being held up to their privileged points of view! The Earth is doomed!
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Neil Lindholm
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Joined: 12 January 2005
Location: China
Posts: 4683
Posted: 28 June 2020 at 7:29pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Oh please. Remember the outcry over Peloton? There is no logic in many of these complaints. 

As well, who has the final say in these matters? If one member of a marginalized group signs off on a campaign and another member of the same group  complains, who has the final say? Who exactly do I contact to ask permission to ensure something is currently being acceptable? If I find a native band that is OK with the name of the Washington Redskins for example, is this fine and if not, who do I contact to have the final say? It is simply safer to ensure there is nothing that can offend anyone. 
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Michael Roberts
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Joined: 20 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13257
Posted: 28 June 2020 at 7:36pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply


 QUOTE:
Oh please. Remember the outcry over Peloton? There is no logic in many of these complaints. 

Yes. People thought the commercial was creepy. And complained about it on social media. So what?


 QUOTE:
As well, who has the final say in these matters?

The people producing/creating/manufacturing whatever. And they have the /choice/ to respond to those complaints or not.
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 120398
Posted: 29 June 2020 at 4:41am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Perhaps because HAMILTON is the story of one America's Founders, set naturally among other Founders, diversity casting that retains true-to-the-era sets and costumes is a way to allow non-white Americans to stake a claim in a new, vital way to that history?

++++

Exactly.

In an era where we are reevaluating our relationship with American icons because of issues of racism and slave ownership, highlighting ways non-white American can relate to our Founding Fathers is arguably a good thing.

•••

That sounds incredibly condescending.

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Adam Schulman
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Joined: 22 July 2017
Posts: 1417
Posted: 29 June 2020 at 3:20pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I suppose the ultimate logic of this mindset would lead to Bugs Bunny being voiced by an actual rabbit. 

(I kid. Just barely.)
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Vinny Valenti
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Joined: 17 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 6931
Posted: 29 June 2020 at 4:03pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I guess this means that Nancy Cartwright will be giving up the roles of Bart Simpson and Nelson Muntz?

Edited by Vinny Valenti on 29 June 2020 at 4:04pm
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 120398
Posted: 29 June 2020 at 7:40pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Another serious, non-snarky question:

If the justification for the race swapping in HAMILTON is that it opens history to minorities who can then feel included, is the flipside also valid? To reach the White minibrains who don’t grasp the seriousness of the plight of Black people and other minorities in this country, would it be acceptable to produce a musical biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr with Tom Hanks in the lead role? And if not, why not?

I am REALLY trying to understand how this works.

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Eric Sofer
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Joined: 31 January 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 3798
Posted: 30 June 2020 at 7:43am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Michael R.: "Or they could just hire more diverse actors?"

Of course, my friend. I'm presenting A possible solution - not a good one. That solution worked just fine for Hanna and Barbera in the 60s*. But that era was so different that it's barely recognizable at this distance as far as cartoons are concerned.

No, the really right solution IMO is hire the right actor for the right part. Period.

*With a very few notable exceptions, e.g., The Flintstones, the Jetsons, Space Ghost, the Herculoids, etc.
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Joseph Greathouse
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 19 August 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 567
Posted: 30 June 2020 at 8:06am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I appreciate your desire to understand. Theater, and
musical theater in particular, i something of
importance to me and I value the time I studied.

Before i answer your immediate question, I want to
back up to your point about musical as fantasy and the
comparison to movie, not a book, because I feel it
will help me address the question above. Hamilton has
taking a point in history and converted it to fantasy
(by making it a musical stage play). This is along
the lines taking the life of Abraham Lincoln and
making him a vampire hunter in a book or taking WWII
and adding in Captain America in a comic book. Each,
on their own, reaches mass (but not total) audience
acceptance because the fantastic nature provides
greater suspension of disbelief. Now, if you take each
of these things and convert it to another medium,
film, the acceptance can drop because the comparison
is not to reality, but to the original format. Though,
there may still be acceptance by those unfamiliar with
the original format.

So, to your question. Hamilton is not race swapping in
that the musical is proposing Hamilton, Washington,
and others were black. The characters are white in the
show and this is further demonstrated by conversations
of slavery and freedom for all races. This is more
akin to blind casting, though it isn't because Miranda
has stated he won't grant license without adherence to
minority casting of primary roles. This is fairly
common and really means you won't see a rural Iowa
school ever put on Hamilton.

Almost to your question, I swear. Hamilton was really
created amid a perfect storm. It wasn't even created
to be a play, but a concept album. It was meant to be
minority voices telling a story through music. Over
eight years, our world, our president, the change in
mass communication, the ability to instantly share
video of the first time Miranda performed what would
become the first song at a White House poetry slam, a
growing sensitivity to racial deficit and privilege,
all of theses things and more made the show possible.
If you slide the conception forward or back even a
couple of years, who knows how it would be viewed?

So, could something similar be done with King? Today,
summer of 2020, no. Our world isn't in a place that
would accept such a change on concept alone. There
just isn't enough in the pitch. But, lets play with
the concept. Could a white man do a one man show on
civil rights that focuses on King, where he becomes
King? Add some music. Perhaps the story is that of a
white man who was touched and turned by King, and in
the show becomes King. Perhaps, if the point was
indeed to provide some sort of cultural perspective.
But, that is always the first place to start, asking
what is the point? Asking, how will it work?

The stage gives an odd pass to a lot of ideas. There
is no automatic rule. That was the real joke behind
Mel Brooks, The Producers. It wasn't the absurdity
that people liked Springtime for Hitler in the show,
it was the absurdity that people could like Springtime
for Hitler in real life.

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