Twenty years after it was first staged at the National Theatre, Patrick Marber’s multi-award winning play Closer is to get its first BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) production. Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Theatre Company, which is part of Birmingham City University, has selected a BAME director and four BAME actors for the provocative work which explores the brutal anatomy of modern romance. It plays at the Crescent Theatre Birmingham from 13-16 December.
Head of Undergraduate Studies, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (Acting) and course director for BA Acting, Danièle Sanderson said, “Closer is traditionally considered a play for white actors, but there is nothing in the play which directly suggests this requirement. The characters are described as a dermatologist, a photographer, a journalist and a stripper. It's a play about sexual politics, about communication between men and women in contemporary society, ie. it’s gender specific, not colour or race specific.”
The play's director, Vik Sivalingam said, “The terms ‘BAME’, ‘non-traditional’ and ‘colour blind’ are not only wholly unsatisfactory but also reductive to large swathes of peoples. I personally prefer the term ‘colour aware’ casting and I look forward to the day when the industry status quo is one in which Creatives are required to defend any production that is cast ‘traditionally’. The fact that Closer has never been cast in this way is an indictment on our industry.”
Vik Sivalingam concludes: “Lack of representation is a challenge that permeates the industry. To see someone who looks like you, doing what you aspire to do, is an important part of sustaining a dream and young people of colour simply don’t have the same multiplicity of role models.”