Confronting blackface in the modern world – Entertainment & Life – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Editor’s Note: Through Oct. 7, Venice Theatre is presenting Ken Ludwig’s 1986 comedy “Lend Me a Tenor,” about a Cleveland opera company in 1934 presenting Verdi’s “Otello” with a superstar singer, Tito Merelli, in the title role. Otello, who is Moroccan, is traditionally performed in blackface or with dark makeup. The play calls for Max, an opera company assistant usually played by a white actor, to take over the role, leading both characters to appear at one point in the same makeup and costume. But the casting of Kristofer Geddie, an African-American actor and the theater’s director of diversity, as Max led to an examination of the use of blackface. Geddie wrote the following essay for the theater’s program, which is republished here with his permission.

To do it,…

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