Is it reasonable for activists to want a deaf of blind actress to play Helen Keller?

Young Abigail Breslin–from Little Miss Sunshine and that Mel Gibson movie only I like–is set to play Helen Keller in a revival of The Miracle Worker on Broadway. Her casting has aroused the ire of same advocates for the disabled, as mentioned hereabouts. Saith one objector:

Has Ms. Jensen a point? Because I can’t see one, but I’ve been wrong ere this.

I hadn’t seen or heard anything about this story.

Though it’s reasonable to expect a Rhymer post to be without logical foundation, I DID include a link.

ETA: I also expect I just got whoosed. The usual feckless threats apply. :mad::smiley:

The point would be that, to them, this as offensive having a white actor black up to play Othello. A point I don’t agree with. I don’t think that the deaf and blind have been subjected to the sort of pervasive mockery that made up the majority of black roles (played by any race) from the beginning of cinema until the middle of the century or so. But I can understand why a deaf or blind actress might feel otherwise. But it wouldn’t be some kind of shocking gesture in the face of prejudice to cast a blind actress in this role – I believe the guy in the article when he said there just aren’t very many young actresses who can sell Broadway tickets in the first place.

The cynic in me wonders whether the deaf community wouldn’t be offended if they cast a blind actress and vice-versa.

Reasonable? No.

Typical? Yes.

Moreover, I wonder if Signora Jensen would not prefer an actress who was BOTH deaf and blind (and profoundly so) to play the role, as such would be required to truly replicate Keller’s conditions. Somehow I doubt the supply of talented deaf and blind actresses is extensive.

If only because any one of us can go deaf or blind at any time, but our race is static.

They can fix this with an icepick and 5 minutes.

Michael Jackson …

Because there are just so many well-known actresses who are deaf and/or blind.

The whole point of an actor’s job is that they’re pretending to be something they’re not. Like beautiful women pretending to be lesbians.

More to the point, being black does not hamper one’s ability to act. Being blind and deaf must, at the very least, present some major hurdles to acting. I’m not talking about acting disabled, but following the script and the director’s cues in order to provide the proper visual experience a movie must necessarily be.

Being only deaf OR blind would ease those hurdles, but frankly if the complaint is that a non-disabled actor wouldn’t be able to accurately portray Helen Keller, neither would someone who is only one or the other. And even if it were acceptable, then there’s the challenge of finding a suitable actor, as mentioned above.

Deaf actors in and of themselves are pretty rare; I’ve never heard of any deaf-blind actors. And even if there are any, finding one who fits the part in terms of age, sex, physical appearance, etc. would be an impossibly tall order.

It’s her job to say things like this, and it’s interesting to debate, but Broadway producers have no obligation–moral, financial, or artistic–to bow to it.

I have no problem with her using this for a bit of publicity; you grab what you can. But if the play suffers in the name of political correctness, nobody wins.

This seems an odd thread for a “Har har, dykes are ugly, am I right?” joke, but I’m struggling to come up with any other interpretation for the above. Maybe you can help me out.

It’s a foolish idea. As said it narrows the talent pool; possibly to zero. And it ignores the fact that actors by the nature of the job are usually portraying themselves as something they are not. Should AIDS groups protest movies with healthy actors playing characters with AIDS? Should gays care if a straight actor plays a gay man? Should pilots care when a non-pilot plays one? Should heart patients care that Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard doesn’t really have an artificial heart?

I would go so far as to say there is a fiduciary responsibility to the producer to make a profit.

In the tradition of putting one’s money where one’s mouth is I suggest Sharon Jensen take her executive director’s pay as well as her organization’s funds and produce a play with actors that fit her criteria.

I paused at this one as well. I decided to go with an interpretation: “In adult movies there are many attractive actresses who do lesbian scenes for the titillation of male viewers, but who are not, in point of fact, lesbians in their own personal lives - they are acting, within the restricted sense of ‘acting’ in the adult film industry - and therein lies the humour”

Or maybe I’m over-reading.

He’s not even a real captain. The military lodged a protest.

I think Rigamorale is referring to the fact that women in girl-girl porn aren’t usually lesbians in their free time.

I didn’t say it, of course, but I can provide an alternate interpretation using my mutant rationalizing powers. It’s conceivable that the other poster referred to casting comely straight women–like, say, Olivia Wilde–as lesbians or bisexuals strictly for the tititllation value.

I have a problem with it. The credibility of her organization suffers when she says this, making the cause she ostensibly supports incrementally more difficult to advance.