mamculuna: (Default)
( Aug. 25th, 2005 10:48 am)
Well, in the first few posts of my flist this morning I noticed two non-Southerners who'd used "Y'all." And I've begun to hear it outside the south, too. So I wonder: if you're not a Southerner, have you started using that very useful word to plug the hole in English where a second-person plural ought to be? and do you hear others who've adopted it although they didn't grow up with it?

(note: I'm a Southerner and a sometime-linguist, and glad to see my native language spread, but just wonder if it's my overly-sensitive ear that hears this word gradually becoming a less regional term.)

Any other formerly regional expressions that are now becoming wide-spread?

I'm pretty sure "Y'all" hasn't made it to Great Britain or Australia or New Zealand, and doubtful of Canada, but who knows?
Warning: this is a rant about Edward Albee.

Some of you read my recent post about my friend's outstanding performance in Albee's Sylvia, or The Goat. I saw her today and was horrified to hear that Albee had pulled the production rights and they had to shut down in the middle of the run. Now I do believe a playwright should have some control of his work, but in this case, I think Albee made a huge and tragic mistake. His reason for denying rights? Two were artistic though very nitpicky to my mind, but I'd accept them: the director had too much experience in opera direction and one of the actors was too short (!) for the role. OK, it's his play. They might be great but if he hates opera and short people, he hates them. His play.

The reason that horrifies and enrages me is this: a black actor was cast in a role that Albee considers the "bad guy," and Albee thinks that's unacceptable in the South. This role is in no way demeaning to black people or in any way stereotypical. It's a writer who interviews a friend, discovers his friend's infidelity, and thinks he should inform the friend's wife. Considering that the friend's inamorata is a goat, I think the writer looks reasonably moral. And we won't even discuss the wife's behavior (b/c it would spoil the play which right now I think no one should ever, ever see--but maybe I'll change my mind later). The company that produced this works very hard in the minority communities here, offering a workshop for actors and annual productions, among many other things. Like many companies, they frequently cast actors in roles that aren't race specific.

The only problem I see here is that Albee thinks the South is some especially benighted region, incapable of seeing African-Americans as three-diimensional humans susceptible to self-righteousness, misjudgement, and all those natural errors of our species.

Now if he said this role could never be played by any minority anywhere, I guess I'd think it weird, but to single out the South this way infuriates me. Does he think racism ends at the Virginia-Maryland border? Does he think that the four of us who sat hearing about this (two black, two white) somehow can't see the play in the same way? What. Was. In . His. Head?

I want artists to own their own work, but somehow it seems that this crosses a line I can't quite identify to myself yet.


mamculuna: (Default)


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