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Leading the (Color)blind at Shakespeare’s Globe | Early Modern and Open Access

By February 21, 2016 No Comments

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.

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Nicola Hyland, “‘Young Hearts’/White Masks: Leading the (Color)blind at Shakespeare’s GlobeBorrowers and Lenders 9.2 (2015)


“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.


Author Lindsay

Lindsay Ann Reid is a regular contributor to The Scrivener and Early Modern and Open Access. She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is a Lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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