Noma Dumezweni Will Make Hermione Her Own
The Internet has been abuzz since last month when the actors cast as Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child were announced, and most of the attention has focused on the fact that the actress cast as Hermione, Noma Dumezweni, is black.
Though J.K. Rowling herself and legions of fans (including us here at MuggleNet) strongly support this choice and can’t wait to see what Dumezweni will make of the role, there have been those who are critical of her casting. Dumezweni spoke to the Standard recently in response to her critics, saying that though she had previously experienced some prejudice (which she deemed “unconscious”) while auditioning for roles, she had never before had anyone outwardly question her ability to play a character because of the color of her skin. Dumezweni has said of those who can’t imagine Hermione as a woman of color,
It stems from ignorance. They don’t want to be a part of the creative act. To say it’s not as it was intended is so unimaginative. I don’t think they understand how theatre works. We’re here to heal you, make you smile and whisk you away.
Dumezweni also mentioned that she would not have taken the role unless she were given the chance to make it her own, a statement that this author interprets as her likely being able to incorporate some of her own experiences as a black woman into the role of Hermione, which is sure to make the character even more compelling. In the interview, she also mentions being determined to stay in the UK despite many other black British actors seeking better roles in the US, stating,
We have to hold on to the choice that it will get better here.
Dumezweni also leaves readers with an important reminder as they consider whether or not an actor is “right” for any given role:
The only question we should ask is ‘Are they good?’ I’ve met great actors black and white and I’ve met bad actors black and white.
Dumezweni’s remarks are in connection with her backing of Multicultural Shakespeare, a project examining black and Asian performers in Shakespearean roles. In fact, it seems as though her support of the project was meant to be the focus of her interview – just check out Dumezweni’s tweet from earlier today:
Feelings of being #RitaSkeetered‘, it was meant to be about @BBAShakespeare #SheeshRashid! My #naïveté https://t.co/oBfVIhzHum
— MissNoma (@MissDumezweni) January 8, 2016
While we’re naturally desperate for any details about Dumezweni’s interpretation of Hermione, we can understand the frustration – perhaps she’d better get a glass jar handy for any prying Animagi that might be around?
Do you have tickets to Cursed Child? What are you most excited for in the play?