“Just Because” is a Perfectly Legitimate Reason to Think Outside the Box

 

Our Artistic Director Jasmine Joshua talks about a critic’s response to our Fly By Night reboot — why do it at all? What does it matter? Join the conversation!

 

From Producing Artistic Director Jasmine Joshua:

So we got our first review for Fly By Night at Reboot Theatre Company and we got dinged for our reboot — we cast three women in male roles, though we did not (could not) change a word in the script or an inch of the storyline. There are three quotes that I want to address because I’m fascinated by this conversation. Please join in!

First: “The casting does nothing to add to the story or the tone.”

Exactly! Yes! Good! Think about that: this reviewer watched this whole show and, according to this quote, was completely unaffected by a woman playing a cis-man? I think that’s revolutionary.

Second: “Just like when productions choose to transplant a show to another time or place, if you’re going to cross gender cast a show, you need to have a reason other than ‘just because.'”

I 100% disagree with this and this is exactly why I started Reboot. “Just Because” is a perfectly legitimate reason to think outside the box. I don’t think every nontraditional casting choice needs to make some sort of overarching sociopolitical point that drives audience members into the streets to protest. I mean, those are great, too, but that was not our aim (for now ;)).

Reboot is choosing to subvert the norm in a subtle way. Maybe it changes absolutely nothing — which is great! — and maybe it fucks up the story — which is also great! That’s what my experiment is. When does casting a person not “meant” for a role actually change how the audience sees the story? I think that even though the reviewer saw the unobtrusiveness of our reboot as a negative, I see it as the ultimate compliment and evidence for my thesis: Human stories are human stories.

Third: “In this case [the reboot] just continues to distract as we’re reminded that the women are playing men and the sexual tension between Joey and Daphne becomes diluted with two women in the role.”

Well, that’s the reviewer’s interpretation of the acting and has nothing to do with it being two women. Two women can have PLENTY of sexual tension. (See: Lost Girls at Annex Theatre Company) So the reviewer thinks these two actors had no chemistry, but it has nothing to do with our reboot and has nothing to do with the fact that they are two women. (Also, I disagree with this assessment, but I don’t want to explain why because OMG spoilerz!)

I’m dying to know what you think! For those that saw it — did the three male characters cast with women distract, enhance, or make no difference? For those that haven’t seen it — check it out and give us feedback!

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