• Christina Peña

Check your opinion at the door...

I was having conversation with my roommate this past weekend about casting for a particular show. We went back and forth over why or why it wouldn’t work.

I believed it wouldn’t because of my director hat. Changing the character’s gender would cause problems with the fight scene or just the time of the piece in general.

My roommate believed that the idea didn’t disrupt any of the jokes or core of the story.

We went back and forth for a while but it all came to an abrupt stop when they said “well then where do I fit into the show.”

My roommate identifies as Non-Binary and they are in a constant search of where do they belong on stage. Now I also need to point out that they are one or the best talents of our generation and have booked many acting contracts.

I was shocked! As a diversity and inclusion activist I am constantly talking about and preaching the changes that we need to make in theater. It’s not that I didn’t think about it from that point of view, I was just so into the integrity of the musical that I didn’t even consider it from that point of view.

I am constantly asking the question of Where do I belong? So why did I not this time?

I needed to check my opinion at the door and just listen to what they had to say. It wasn’t about if the character could be played by the opposite gender. It was about how my roommate felt. About how they would do anything to play that role and that they will probably never be seen in an audition room for it, no matter how good they are.

These conversations are important because sometimes it isn’t about does it work. It is about making sure whoever you are talking to is heard and validated.

Being able to see yourself represented on stage is a privilege right now.

How do we make it the norm?

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