Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Color-blind? Or Foot Fetish?

"Ragtime" deals with the issues of race and class. Due to the structure of the show, the ensemble is actually divided into three categories: the "Harlem" ensemble, the "New Rochelle" ensemble and the "Immigrant" ensemble. As you can guess that equates roughly to African-American types, lily-white types, and those of us, like me, of indeterminate ethnic background, most likely with dark hair.

Now, someone related the following story to me, positioning it as evidence that our production staff is truly color-blind:
Tyler, our choreographer, was working on the opening number, in which the cast is separated into those three major groups. All three groups were in their respective bunches, lined up along the downstage proscenium line. Tyler walked up to the Immigrant cluster and started giving them notes for the Harlem group. When the immigrants pointed out that they weren't the Harlem group, Tyler said 'Well, where are you guys?' This got a good laugh from the people who considered themselves to be rather obviously of color, clustered about 10 feet to Tyler's left.

I have another theory though. I'm not sure this proves Tyler was being color-blind. More likely, as a choreographer, Tyler may have been paying much more attention to everyone's feet than their faces. And since they were all wearing shoes, it was truly a level playing field.

Just my theory.

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