Casting a Movement

I am honored to be part of CASTING A MOVEMENT, edited by Claire Syler and Daniel Banks. Our editors brought together a diverse group of practitioners and scholars who believe that “ …casting is a way to invite more people to the table so that the full breadth of US identities can be reflected onstage, and that casting is inherently a political act; because an actor’s embodied presence both communicates a dramatic narrative and evokes cultural assumptions associated with appearance, skin color, gender, sexuality, and ability, casting choices are never neutral.”

With a foreword by Liesl Tommy, the book’s sections include Culturally conscious casting, Approaches to casting Middle Eastern American theater, Casting and disability culture, Casting and multilingual performance, Casting contemporary Native American theater, Subverting stereotypes, and Casting across identities. My chapter, “Setting a Global Table with Multilingual Theater,” is based on my direction of the multilingual premiere of The Orphan Sea by Caridad Svich. I suggest that the choice to direct a multilingual play is an invitation to engage in cross-cultural projects that celebrate different cultures, religions, identities, and perspectives. Our rehearsals and performances were sites to experiment with translation theory, multilingual performance strategies, and audience reception. Casting multilingual actors and presenting multilingual productions is a means to nurture future artists who can dream and bring to fruition new theatrical possibilities.

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