Friday, June 08, 2007
Labute and Color Blind Casting
There is an interesting discussion of Neil Labute's comments on color-blind casting happening at The New York Theatre i, Matt Freeman's place, and BlogStage among other places. I have nothing to add that hasn't been said beautifully by those good people and their commenters. But at the intersection between that discussion and what we were talking about yesterday, a question occurred to me: Is Neil Labute an example of a conservative playwright? In many ways, this article about color-blind casting has a neo-con flavor to it, and when I think of plays like The Shape of Things and films like In the Company of Men I start to wonder. In many ways, these pieces either bash traditional liberal issues (The Shape of Things, for instance, really paints an awful picture of contemporary artists) or celebrate traditional power relations (like the men's power in In the Company of Men). I suppose you could say that he is critiquing these things, but his comments on color-blind casting make me stop and think. He is sort of like the playground kid who gleefully crows "Wanna see something gross???" I don't know Labutes work well enough to make a definitive judgment, but I wanted to throw the question out: is he a neo-con playwright?