Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    So, recently I was watching Laurence Oliver's 1965 take on Othello and was wondering ; "Would this offend people?" I understand why blackface would be offensive in events such as Halloween or festivals, but would people have legitimate reasons for getting offended by Laurence? Maybe even RDJ in that Vietnam movie? If anyone has any responses to this, please point out your POV, I would be very interested to find out. If you have a liberal or conservative point of view which clashes with another POV, please don't start hysteria, just a civil debate, please.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Bump, due to lack of responses.
    • Section Leader
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    Moved to Film, hopefully you'll have more responses there.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    Blackface is offensive like why can’t you just use a black actor instead a white actor who you make “black”. This is was also used in the past to mock black features and was used as comedy. No way. White face isn’t offensive because it doesn’t really have a history and things like white chicks isn’t offensive.

    (3)
    Online

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I don't like the term "blackface." anyone who uses that term, I would be on my guard about.
    Online

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AngryJellyfish)
    Moved to Film, hopefully you'll have more responses there.
    doubt it
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by petalsunrise)
    I don't like the term "blackface." anyone who uses that term, I would be on my guard about.
    How does the term offend you? Surely the word isn't offensive, but rather the action of using it proactively, right?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I researched into it, and it seems that Laurence Oliver's portrayal of Othello wasn't considered as racist.
    There are two types of representations of a black man, when the actor is white: Blackface (A makeup style with the intent of ridiculing) and : "Dark makeup," (as seen in RDJ's performance and LO's) and is typically not seen as offensive, as it is not made for humour, but rather accurate portrayal with the 'best actor for the job'.
    Quote:


    " "Blackface" refers to a specific type of makeup that originated in minstrel shows, and was designed to lampoon stereotypical features of African-Americans. This is the makeup of Al Jolson, Amos & Andy, and so on. Blackface makeup left a large white area around the mouth to signal oversize lips, again a nod to racist stereotypes. Blackface/minstrel performance usually also included costuming that was exaggerated; large bow ties, overlarge suit collars and so on. Voice and movement were likewise altered to lampoon African-American stereotypes.
    Here is an example of two performers in 1950 applying blackface makeup and slipping into stereotypical "blackface" personae.
    As for Olivier, in his mind (and the minds of those directly around him), this wasn't blackface in the minstrelsy sense. It was him made up as an African. His intention was to play Othello, not to lampoon or send-up. In both of his autobiographies he discusses the process of the production and film to greater or lesser degree, and he does not ever hint at any agenda other than disappearing entirely into the character.
    As the Civil Rights movement in the US (and Postcolonial/Critical Race Theory around the world) advanced, most began to see this as a distinction without a difference, since the actor donning makeup like Olivier's is still assuming a cultural background, representative burden, and personal history that cannot (like many other aspects of characterization in theatre) be learned in rehearsal. Furthermore, the casting of a white man in a role like Othello further decreases the number of available roles for actors of color (and there aren't that many to begin with).
    In sum, in Olivier's cultural and historical context, this wasn't "blackface," nor was it disrespectful. We have reason to see it as such now, but he wasn't working from the same operating assumptions.
    Olivier's autobiographies:
    • Olivier, Laurence. Confessions of an Actor. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982. Print.
    • --- On Acting. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987. Print. "
 
 
 
Poll
How are you feeling in the run-up to Results Day 2018?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.