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  1. #31

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by clara View Post
    ...don't let it ruin a good show with talented performers.
    So true. I mentioned it after we exited and had lunch. We talked about the show since it was the first time we saw it. Only two of us even caught the scooter. It is that engaging. I think most ppl don't see her since she blends into the cast and those that see the chair are not affected.

  2. #32

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Don't let them get you down too much, OP. I too found the idea of a pre-modern-time Agrabah villager scooting around in an electric wheelchair odd and out-of-character. Having worked as a stage manager a long, long time ago, we certainly had disabled actors in our productions, but they were usually incorporated in a manner that veiled or drew as little attention to their disability as possible.

    While I don't have a problem with Disney's casting choice and it's certainly their choice to make, let's not pretend to be offended OP would find it strange or out-of-character. Casting agents routinely take attributes that are protected in traditional employment situations into consideration when casting a theatrical role. There's a reason MGM didn't cast someone in a wheelchair as James Bond in their new $100 million movie, Disney doesn't cast men to play Jasmine, and I've never seen an African-american Cinderella in the parks. In order to maintain the illusion of the story and allow the audience to suspend disbelief, there are limitations to how far you can stray out of a character's expected identity.

  3. #33

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    There's a reason ... I've never seen an African-american Cinderella in the parks. In order to maintain the illusion of the story and allow the audience to suspend disbelief, there are limitations to how far you can stray out of a character's expected identity.
    So, the Cinderella story is unequivocally European in nature, so much so that a non-European Cinderella is simply unfathomable? The Cinderella tale is so intrinsically culturally European that to portray Cinderella as anything but a European female is to betray the story's roots?

    I mean, seriously, what would happen if there WAS an African American Cinderella at the parks? Would all the white people riot or something?

  4. #34

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    So, the Cinderella story is unequivocally European in nature, so much so that a non-European Cinderella is simply unfathomable? The Cinderella tale is so intrinsically culturally European that to portray Cinderella as anything but a European female is to betray the story's roots?
    I think it would betray the story's roots, as portrayed in Disney's adaptation. In such a circumstance, I suspect many people would even be so confused as to not recognize who the character was supposed to be unless it was explained to them. I also believe that Disney agrees, given the fact I'm unaware of them ever having cast a non European-looking female to play Cinderella in the park.

  5. #35

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by DLandFansAZ View Post
    I understand your point, but I have to disagree. The lady in the wheelchair isn't playing Peter Pan, Belle or as in this case Jasmine, she is playing a background fill character that for the most part people will hardly remember. There is no specific face for the background characters so Disney isn't casting them as characters they don't look like. As for the transporting to another time and place, I don't believe they had spot lights and wireless microphones back in those days either.

    I would actually say I commend Disney for this casting decision, especially if the decision was based on her singing talent. Aladdin is a "musical" production so having a good voice trumps the wheelchair in my opinion. And for the record, yes I have seen her and it didn't change my perception of the show one way or the other.
    Couldn't have said this better myself. And yes, as others have stated, she was hired for her talent.

    The show requires that you ignore a man holding the bird puppet... certainly the lady in the wheelchair isn't too much more of a stretch in terms of "suspension of disbelief".
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  6. #36

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    In case anyone is interested, there's actually a term in the entertainment business for this. It's called "non-traditional casting" and is somewhat controversial but gaining much more acceptance than it previously had. There's been a number of articles discussing it and even lawsuits over it. If you're interested in learning more, you may want to Google it.

  7. #37

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    I think it would betray the story's roots, as portrayed in Disney's adaptation. In such a circumstance, I suspect many people would even be so confused as to not recognize who the character was supposed to be unless it was explained to them. I also believe that Disney agrees, given the fact I'm unaware of them ever having cast a non European-looking female to play Cinderella in the park.
    If Disney only had one adaptation of the Cinderella story, that might seem fairly reasonable. But they have two, including the 1997 TV adaptation, wherein Cinderella is portrayed as African American, by the beautiful Brandy Norwood.



    You'd seriously have a problem seeing an African American Cinderella in the parks? If so, you need to ask yourself why.

    If the various characters that Disney presents in its entertainments are truly "timeless and universal," then casting can be fluid and ever-changing when it comes to portraying the characters, and why not? This is fiction, after all. This is not realism. The Arabia of Aladdin is not an authentic or historically accurate portrayal of any actual Arabic society, in any previous century. Aladdin is not an historical figure. Aladdin is a fantasy, and Disney's 1992 animated film is a clearly Hollywoodized version of that fantasy. The notion that anyone is "being transported to an authentic place and time" in human history when viewing either the film or the stage show is a load of hooey. That place never existed in reality. Flying carpets and blue genies aren't real. So getting one's knickers in a twist over seeing an actress in a motorized wheelchair in a stage production of a fantasy is a sure sign that one is in need of professional psychological help.

  8. #38

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    You'd seriously have a problem seeing an African American Cinderella in the parks? If so, you need to ask yourself why.
    I wouldn't have a problem seeing an African American Cinderella in the parks - I think it would create problems. Specifically, I think guests have an expectation that the characters they are visiting will bear at least the slightest resemblance to their appearance in the movies and media that Disney has included them in. You're correct that there was an African American Cinderella in a 1997 TV adaptation. Do you believe that's who the guests are expecting to meet when they go to Disneyland, or do you think they're expecting to meet the Cinderella they've been shown over and over again in every format for the past 62 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    If the various characters that Disney presents in its entertainments are truly "timeless and universal," then casting can be fluid and ever-changing when it comes to portraying the characters, and why not?
    If you truly believe there are no limits to this concept, would you cast a large, burly man with a beard as Cinderella? Would you cast a deaf person to sing in the Aladdin musical by sign language? My position is merely that there are limits to how far you can stretch a character's identity before the character is broken.

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    This is fiction, after all. This is not realism. The Arabia of Aladdin is not an authentic or historically accurate portrayal of any actual Arabic society, in any previous century. Aladdin is not an historical figure. Aladdin is a fantasy, and Disney's 1992 animated film is a clearly Hollywoodized version of that fantasy. The notion that anyone is "being transported to an authentic place and time" in human history when viewing either the film or the stage show is a load of hooey. That place never existed in reality. Flying carpets and blue genies aren't real.
    I don't think a story has to be real or a historical account to have constraints. Even fantasy, fictionalized worlds operate by their own internal story structures and rules. It's why Jaffar doesn't try to destroy Agrabah with a nuclear bomb and get stopped by Navy Seals recruited by Aladdin. Such a think would seem silly and stupid because it violates the fictional world's internal rules and therefore breaks the story. Waiving it off as just "fantasy" doesn't make it any less damaging to the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    So getting one's knickers in a twist over seeing an actress in a motorized wheelchair in a stage production of a fantasy is a sure sign that one is in need of professional psychological help.
    Thanks for the personal diagnosis. I'll keep it in mind if my doctor ever asks me if I've been diagnosed by an Internet professional. But in all seriousness, you're attacking a straw man here. Neither I nor OP has our "knickers in a twist" about this lady being in the show. Seriously, go back and read his post. He merely asked if anyone else found it strange or unusual. I did, and given the controversial nature of non-traditional casting, I think his question was a valid one.

  9. #39

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    In case anyone is interested, there's actually a term in the entertainment business for this. It's called "non-traditional casting" and is somewhat controversial but gaining much more acceptance than it previously had. There's been a number of articles discussing it and even lawsuits over it. If you're interested in learning more, you may want to Google it.
    I'm familiar with so-called "non-traditional" casting, as well as its relatives "non-traditional writing" and "non-traditional directing." The "non-traditional" term is code for "non-Eurocentric, heterosexual, cisgendered, able-bodied, Judeo-Christian," and given that this nation is and always has been a very diverse nation and has become more openly and honestly so, it is long overdue that that diversity be represented in the arts, and not just in the casting of actors' roles, but also in the stories and the viewpoints being portrayed in the arts as well. It's only "controversial" to people who are unwilling to see their fellow human beings as human beings, or have been conditioned by years of white supremacist thinking.

  10. #40

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    Cool Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    would you cast a large, burly man with a beard as Cinderella? Would you cast a deaf person to sing in the Aladdin musical by sign language? .
    No, I would not cast a large burly man with a beard as Cinderella; I am not sexist, anti-burly, or anti-facial hair; but a large bearded man (by definition) is not Cinderella.

    Yes, I would definitely cast a deaf performer to play the role of Aladdin, and he would sign the songs and dialogue.

    I remember back in the 70's, Mexican families would come up from Mexico on the weekends and spend the day at Disneyland
    (the "Border" was not a block wall with razor wire back then; it was exactly what it is: an imaginery line between two countries...)
    and their encounter with the Disneyland face characters was often traumatic. You see, to these families (and young ones), these characters all spoke Spanish when they saw the movies; to hear them speak English was jarring. The children would run up to Alice yelling "Alicia! Alicia!" and they would stop dead in their tracks when they heard her speaking back to them in English "Hello! Have you seen the White Rabbit?!" But, I could see their minds spinning... Then they would run up to Snow White yelling "Blanca Nieves! Blanca Nieves!" and the tears would start to roll when they heard her only speak to them in English... (Not Blanca Nieves! She has black hair like us and lives somewhere just out in the forrest... Why doesn't she speak Spanish any more?!)
    We used to plead to the Leads to let the face characters speak a few words to these children ("Hola ninos!", something, anything!) and the answer always came down the same: No, Disneyland characters only speak English, never in Spanish. Yet, to these children, these characters had ONLY EVER spoken Spanish, and so to them, they did not seem "real" at all.

    What a shame.
    "I've got the heart of a child..." - I keep it in a box, next to my bed...

  11. #41

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    I wouldn't have a problem seeing an African American Cinderella in the parks - I think it would create problems.
    What sort of problems? Horrified parents covering their childrens' eyes? Angry traditionalists fuming with rage around the parks? Angry letters to Burbank? A record number of complaints at City Hall? Violence? Please, be specific.


    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    If you truly believe there are no limits to this concept, would you cast a large, burly man with a beard as Cinderella?
    I always love these sorts of "arguments," because they always present extreme examples that not only have no basis in reality, but would very likely never happen.

    That said, though, it would be quite a creative challenge to rewrite the Cinderella story in a manner wherein a large burly man with a beard COULD play the Cinderella role. Could it be done successfully? I think so, with the right talent and skills. Sure, why not? It might not necessarily be "Cinderella" as such, but it could be the same basic story and characters, more or less. Could be fun.

    How many different interpretations of "Hamlet" have there been over the years? He hasn't always been portrayed as a Danish prince, with one specific look.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    Would you cast a deaf person to sing in the Aladdin musical by sign language?
    Yeah, sure, why not? I knew a deaf guy in high school back in the early 80s who did a terrific Mick Jagger impression, so much so that I remember it 30 years later. And Marlee Matlin is proof that you can be deaf and talented and have a successful career in showbiz.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    My position is merely that there are limits to how far you can stretch a character's identity before the character is broken.
    Only if your audience has a narrow mind. The Hamlet example still stands. Or even Romeo & Juliet; look what Baz Luhrmann did with that one. Didn't break anything except tradition.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    I don't think a story has to be real or a historical account to have constraints. Even fantasy, fictionalized worlds operate by their own internal story structures and rules. It's why Jaffar doesn't try to destroy Agrabah with a nuclear bomb and get stopped by Navy Seals recruited by Aladdin. Such a think would seem silly and stupid because it violates the fictional world's internal rules and therefore breaks the story. Waiving it off as just "fantasy" doesn't make it any less damaging to the story.
    A nuclear bomb and Navy Seals break the story, but a blue genie who makes Arsenio Hall and Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonations don't? Malarkey. What's that they say about rules? Oh yeah, that they were made to be broken. When it's fictional, like animation, anything goes.


    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    Thanks for the personal diagnosis.
    Well, it wasn't a personal diagnosis, and it wasn't even about you, but it's cute that you took it that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtfox View Post
    I'll keep it in mind if my doctor ever asks me if I've been diagnosed by an Internet professional. But in all seriousness, you're attacking a straw man here. Neither I nor OP has our "knickers in a twist" about this lady being in the show. Seriously, go back and read his post. He merely asked if anyone else found it strange or unusual. I did, and given the controversial nature of non-traditional casting, I think his question was a valid one.
    Like I said, it's only controversial if you've been living in a gated community all your life. I'm not attacking anybody, just voicing my opinion, same as you are.

    ---------- Post added 10-24-2012 at 07:56 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilQueen View Post
    We used to plead to the Leads to let the face characters speak a few words to these children ("Hola ninos!", something, anything!) and the answer always came down the same: No, Disneyland characters only speak English, never in Spanish. Yet, to these children, these characters had ONLY EVER spoken Spanish, and so to them, they did not seem "real" at all.

    What a shame.
    That IS a shame, especially coming from the company that made Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. What a ludicrous policy.

  12. #42

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    I'm familiar with so-called "non-traditional" casting, as well as its relatives "non-traditional writing" and "non-traditional directing." The "non-traditional" term is code for "non-Eurocentric, heterosexual, cisgendered, able-bodied, Judeo-Christian," and given that this nation is and always has been a very diverse nation and has become more openly and honestly so, it is long overdue that that diversity be represented in the arts, and not just in the casting of actors' roles, but also in the stories and the viewpoints being portrayed in the arts as well. It's only "controversial" to people who are unwilling to see their fellow human beings as human beings, or have been conditioned by years of white supremacist thinking.
    Apparently you're not familiar with the theory if you believe it to constitute nothing more than racist code for Eurocentric heterosexual christian domination. Please take the time to read about it before resorting to knee-jerk racism allegations. Seriously, there's thousands of pages written on the subject. Non-traditional casting involves any casting of an actor or actress who doesn't physically resemble the character they're playing. Casing an able-bodied man to run around as Stephen Hawking would be an example of non-traditional casting. Heck, if you take the time to look at the history of non-traditional casting, you will see that some of the earliest examples involved the casting of white Anglo actors to portray minority characters. Simply disregarding the entire theory and debate with a screech of "racist!" ignores the history, isn't fair to the theory and isn't helpful to the debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilQueen View Post
    No, I would not cast a large burly man with a beard as Cinderella; I am not sexist, anti-burly, or anti-facial hair; but a large bearded man (by definition) is not Cinderella.
    Okay, so now we've established that you agree with the theory that you can only stretch the casting of the character so far before it breaks. Now, I would just ask that you understand that different persons are going to have different points at which they draw that line. For example, I don't fully understand why you would not be willing to see a man as Cinderella, but would be willing to see (for examples) someone in a wheelchair, someone without legs or someone of a different racial background as Cinderella. I get that for you, that's where you no longer are able to suspend disbelief about the character. I just hope that you can see that others may have a different point at which they are no longer able to suspend their disbelief.

    The poster below you is a good example, he(or she) indicates they would see a man as Cinderella. I also suspect many would not be willing to go as far as you and cast someone as lead in a musical to sign all the words and songs. These are excellent examples of how everybody draws that line at a different point.

  13. #43

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    I love this actress. I've loved her from the first time I saw her back when the show started. Her voice is AMAZING. She has a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. I love that Disney chose to cast for the voice and not the fact that she is confined to a wheelchair.
    If you see a cute yellow lab puppy with a yellow cape, WAVE! It might be us! (Or it may be someone else that lurks here!) Thank you for asking before you pet! Next trip, Dec 22-Jan 3rd.

  14. #44

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    What sort of problems? Horrified parents covering their childrens' eyes? Angry traditionalists fuming with rage around the parks? Angry letters to Burbank? A record number of complaints at City Hall? Violence? Please, be specific.
    It's more of a guest recognition issue. Considering the public has problems telling the difference between Aurora and Cinderella, which is why Aurora is presented in the pink dress while in the actual movie the blue color had more screen time. I see it all the time where they chase down Aurora in the Park calling out "Cinderella". If you put a black woman in a blue dress as Cinderella and they'll still think it's Tiana.

    Which makes me wonder about the recent princess makeovers. What if they went and changed the races, Aurora is now japanese, Cinderella is hispanic. Would people make issues out of that?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilQueen View Post
    We used to plead to the Leads to let the face characters speak a few words to these children ("Hola ninos!", something, anything!) and the answer always came down the same: No, Disneyland characters only speak English, never in Spanish. Yet, to these children, these characters had ONLY EVER spoken Spanish, and so to them, they did not seem "real" at all.

    What a shame.
    Well at least that's changing.



    Paris Tiana speaking Spanish.

  15. #45

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    Re: Actors using scooters?

    I'll reiterate a question posed earlier in the thread: for those who agree with the OP, is it the electric wheelchair, or the fact that the actress is IN a wheelchair that bothers you? If the actress were given a "historically accurate" model would you feel better about it and be less distracted? There were of course people with mobility impairments present in all historical time periods and countries...

    I still wonder if a lot of the discomfort is the latter and not the former. Why haven't we ever seen a film hero in a wheelchair? Certainly there are wheelchair bound folks who are talented, good looking and charming enough to pull it off. Society tends to equate disability with unattractiveness and assume that the disabled can't be talented...ergo all the folks who assume this actress was hired because of a lawsuit.

    Disney is breaking these stereotypes by hiring people based on talent, and for this I applaud them.
    Last edited by Malina; 10-24-2012 at 11:39 PM.

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