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Identity Work: On Being Cast

Smith, Kirstin; (2020) Identity Work: On Being Cast. Platform : Postgraduate e-Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts , 14 (1 & 2) pp. 36-51. Green open access

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Abstract

This article examines the relationship between being cast and identity, arguing that casting not only functions as an index of identity in a given context, but also reveals quotidian identity work. I analyse Zawe Ashton’s Character Breakdown, framing it as an example of an actor’s effort to decolonise casting (in a British context). Drawing on Judith Butler and Randy Martin, I define identity work as negotiating between value abstractions, social discipline and intimate corporeality. Character Breakdown depicts a search for different ways to cite identity and thereby different ways to labour. I explore how an actor materialises in being cast, the surrogation involved in identity work, and the possibilities that resistant casting practices have held for reconstituting that work. I contextualise the portrayal of present-day casting in Character Breakdown with archival sources documenting the history of casting and being cast in the United Kingdom. Casting in the present is portrayed as both haunted by repertory typologies and engaged in new, still limiting forms of stratification.

Type: Article
Title: Identity Work: On Being Cast
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/media/15719/platfo...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: casting,identity,work,visual arts and performing arts
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10175303
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