First-year MFA playwright, Philana Omorotionmwan, is producing “Colorblind” Madness this week.
She uses a famous August Wilson quote about “colorblind” casting as a jumping off point:
Colorblind casting is an aberrant idea that has never had any validity other than as a tool of the Cultural Imperialist who views their American Culture, rooted in the icons of European Culture, as beyond reproach in its perfection. It is inconceivable to them that life could be lived and even enriched without knowing Shakespeare or Mozart. Their gods, their manners, their being is the only true and correct representation of humankind.
Philana argues that often “colorblind'” casting often ignores an actor’s color rather than bring additional meaning to the character and story. “(It) comes to mean that the actor, cast, and audience are essentially pretending the actor is white,” she says. Philana asks her fellow playwrights to expand and explore what “colorblind” means. “What happens when someone is denied part of his or her identity? What are the consequences? What are the benefits?” Playwrights are free to incorporate these questions, but not necessarily apply them to color/racial identity.
Show is October 23rd, 11pm, in the Hahne Black Box theater. Admission is free. We recommend you get there 45 to 60 minutes ahead of time to assure yourself a seat.
For more information about Madness this fall semester, check out our Madness page.
Philana Omorotionmwan was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She uses writing to create images that explore the the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Her short plays have been produced at Ensemble Studio Theater, Manhattan Theatre Source, and Berkeley Rep. Her poems have been published in New Delta Review and African American Review. Philana earned her BA from Stanford University and is excited to be pursing an MFA here at OU. You can find out more about her work at philanaplays.weebly.com.