I found this article that reminded me of the discussion we had in class about the roles available to minorities in contemporary theatre. This article focuses on the lack of roles available for “older women” in British Theatres.
In the same way that our stages are not reflecting the world that we live in racially, they also do not represent the different ages and genders that make up our society.
People just don’t write plays with characters over the age of 40, especially women.
It seems that anyone past that age no longer leads a life worthy of the stage. Once a woman is no longer seen as “sexy” by the general population- she’s no longer valued as an actress.
But this does not only occur in the theatre industry. It is an issue almost more prevalent in the Film and TV industry.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot since our discussion in class. What is the root of this issue? Are people over the age of 35 just not writing plays as much as young writers are? And if they are, why don’t they write characters for people their age? And why aren’t all playwrights, young and old, seeing this gap in contemporary characters and trying to fill it? Wouldn’t it be exciting to be the leader of a shift in focus in the theatre world by writing older characters that aren’t usually written?
Nowadays the majority of theatre audiences are older people- people with stable careers and an income that can support seeing shows and supporting art.
So wouldn’t playwrights and producers would want to produce plays that relate to their audience? Are older people not interested in plays about people their age?
The more I think about it, the more I am certain that the real issue is that sex sells. For the same reasons that Dead City is more marketable than The Vigil. It doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you’ve lost your sex appeal you might want to look for a career outside of the entertainment industry.