Warning: slightly judgmental post –
Last night I was working at a popular bar here in Sydney, when I noticed an actor or two in a crowd; part of a private party. And this quickly became many actors, as the birthday girl was Xxxx Xxxxxxx from Xxxxxxxx, on the ABC, and she clearly populated her invite list with other celebs (shock, horra).
Of course, being me, I had to network, cos that’s what Scribla’s do. I mean, I’d do that anyway – when I’m working a bar, I always chat to people, and usually end up with the phone number of the hosts Mum or something. ( Sorry Xxxx Xxxxxxxxx ). Case in point – I did chat to Xxxx Xxxxxxx’s parents last night – Mum lovely, Mum’s boyfriend; weirdo.
So anyway, as I was going about my business throughout the night, which involved bringing down the birthday cake, keeping the place tidy, and generally charming the shit out of everyone, as well as sharing the odd cigarette with the punters out the front, I came to realise something – these people were arseholes. Arrogant, dismissive, condescending fucking wankers who assumed that since I was picking up their dirty napkins and making sure they didn’t get shitfaced that I must be a loser who wasn’t worth chatting to, unless it was to ask where to take a piss.
It just gets my fucking goat because these are the people riding high on the Australian film and televison industry’s absolute comfortability with casting the same old faces, most of them white, in place of real up and coming actors who deserve a crack at interesting roles. Case in point – a white actor now based in Bondi, who recently appeared in two shows aired simultaneously on the ABC. In one, he played a barrister, clearly of the Woollahra crowd. In the other, the Mayor of Bankstown.
Like, WTF??? Could the ABC not pass the message on to their chosen casting agent / s that perhaps the Mayor of Bankstown could perhaps MAYBE be played by someone who doesn’t sound like Philip fucking Adams??
I was literally talking about that very actor (let’s call him EJ), and that very situation (which we laughed about), the day before. This other guy, who I was talking to, is recognisable, well known, and he’s from out west. He said that it shits him to tears that the ABC, for example, has a short list of agents who each have a short list of actors, which is why we see the same old faces again and again and again on our screens, often playing roles which would be much better suited to people who aren’t being given a chance.
And the reason that shits ME to tears is that instead of my mate Xxxxxx getting to play a lawyer or a cop or a teacher or a whatever in a way that’s interesting and pushes the boundaries, we get to see Robert bloody McWhiteface, who also has a role on Xxxx, and appeared recently alongside Craig McLachlan in ‘The Chinese Story’, because the ABC is too gutless to mix things up and represent the Australian population for what it is.
I’ve spoken to a number of well known, successful ‘faces’ about this – up and coming actors, a couple of presenters, and they’ve all agreed with what I’m putting forward – it’s fucking BULLSHIT.
Sure, if Channel 7 or 10 or 9 want to hedge their bets on Whitie McCracker, then that’s fine. But when it’s the public broadcaster, and a small bunch of people in the commissioning department have the say over what we see onour screens, at a time when racism is tearing the country apart, then I think we should demand more than have a bus parked out the front of fucking NIDA that says ‘ABC this way!’
There’s ample examples of this crap happening on our screens – show after show after show populated with the clean white gentry who were lucky enough to be born into a life that allowed them to ‘explore their creativity’.
Well, what about young people of colour who grew up in regional Australia, who maybe didn’t have the good fortune to be told growing up that they should go to NIDA, or didn’t have the support and wisdom of parents who themselves were introduced to the theatre, and introduced them in turn, ensuring the generational privilege of being white in Australia carried on through their family?
Having spoken to Xxxx Xxxxxxx’s parents last night, it was clear that she was lucky to have a couple of folks who obviously knew the game themselves. Which isn’t a crime of course, but when every actor we see on the screens of our public service provider comes from the same privileged background, then something’s not right.
I for one am sick of it, and I’m gonna do something about it.