Today's Scene Study class raised some interesting questions surrounding identity and art. . . specifically to do with what identities we (as artists) create, challenge or reinforce through presentation of plays. In particular, this was raised in relation to staging old plays, the baggage of literary and performance history that comes along with them. The main focus on the discussion was Othello, looking at a 1960s version with Laurence Olivier in black face, while another was with South African actors in Johannesberg in the 1980s. Looking at some critical texts on the idea of gender or race in performance, we discussed the implications of staging decisions, and the results these can have for informing stereotype.

This raised a few things for me. . .
- part of me wants to say that art is for art's sake, so what the hell are we worrying about this other stuff for.
- The rational part of me replies, knowing that there is always responsibility of the artist in representing anything, and particularly in representing something that has gained certain significance for a community or group.

So then how do we merge these? I think that the main focus needs to be artistic integrity, but that merged with this needs to be a conscious acknowledgement of what the stage images are doing to the audience, and how they will be received. Audiences at different times and places will bring context that must be acknowledged in the production. A failure to do this is a failure as an artist. Our main role is to interact with and respond to the world as we see it; this can take many forms, but must necessarily account for audience response.