This is part of a bi-weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer-reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.
“Young Hearts”/White Masks: Leading the (Color)blind at Shakespeare’s Globe” explores the paradoxes of color-blind casting by reviewing an unintentionally cross-cultural production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet performed at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. An exploration of the language of the text examines connections with tribal tensions, the signifying presence of binaries, and the distinctive positioning of Romeo as a flawed outsider. The notion of a troubled black masculinity is identified through the representation of a desexualized relationship, revealing a continued anxiety about the performance of interracial romances. While a discussion of place explores the mimetic nature of performance as heightening cultural identities, this is challenged by the “happy hybridity” of Shakespeare’s Globe, which uses race as a novelty. The production attempts to appear culturally integrated without engaging with the problems of racial politics. The analysis of this production reveals that the cultural identity of an actor cannot be made invisible and that race will continue to have political meanings in Shakespearean performance.