“Is acting like your hobby?”
After the Oscars began their slow descent into the wrong side of history, Arpita Mukherjee and Shubhra Prakash, co-founders of Hypokrit Theatre Company, decided to ask the cast of Romeo and Juliet about microaggressions they experienced in show business.
The term “microaggression” is defined by Columbia professor Derald Sue as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” The word was originally coined by psychiatrist Dr. Chester Pierce in the ’70s.
Even as ticket sales went live and actors delved into their characters more deeply, Mukherjee and Prakash decided to embark on this photo project to shed light on an often “accepted” problem.
“When it comes to issues of representation, race and inclusion, there really isn’t any business like show business,” said Mukherjee. “Because so much of what happens in the performing arts world can be chalked up to ‘subjectivity’ and because in some cases stereotypes can actually help actors get work, we prefer not to speak up.”
Here are a few of the microaggressions actors in Romeo and Juliet identified as regular occurrences: