(Feingold’s article appeared on Theatermania, 3/13.)
Yes, I realize that the question is ridiculous. But please don't take offense: I merely wanted to find a startling way of pointing out that the complications of casting a play seem to grow more tangled by the minute.
Indignation on the matter seems to run high these days, especially among the young, who've grown up in a world more sensitive to the issues involved. My views, on the whole, coincide with theirs; if the title of this column seems to come from the other side, it's because I believe in the importance of pointing out that, as with any great question, there are two sides. And we'll never get anywhere till we see, ultimately, that both have to be addressed.
My notions on the subject, I fear, are complex. I'm a believer in what's commonly called nontraditional casting — when it works. I am a believer in equality and equal opportunity for artists of equal ability. Also, I am very much a believer in a theater that makes sense to its audiences while fulfilling its artists' needs. But these beliefs don't always sit quietly together like well-behaved children. They hardly could, living in a world where many prominent adults behave so badly that it's a miracle when children or beliefs hold still at all.