Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You don't have to be Jewish

There was a bizarre item in the People column in the Guardian today. I quote it in full:
Tracy-Ann Oberman, the actor who played Chrissie in EastEnders, once refused to wear a crucifix for the part. They didn't realise she is Jewish: "I said: 'I am not doing that. My mum would have a heart attack. I would have thought it was blindingly obvious, if only from my curly hair," she told jCast, for the Jewish Community Centre with the Jewish Chronicle.
Would the Guardian be so approving of a Christian actor who refused to play a Jewish character? Since when has having curly hair been an infallible sign that you are Jewish?

Beyond that, this shows a strange attitude towards the acting profession. I remember that Thora Hird once became exasperated with an interviewer who insisted on exploring the parallels between her own life and the lonely characters she played in Alan Bennett's monologues.

"I pretend, love," she finally said. "It's what they pay me for."

1 comment:

Jonny Wright said...

Ahhh, Passover is finally over. A whole eight days of no bread and no grain products ... I'm dying for a cheese sandwich and a beer!

I can sort of understand the way Tracy-Ann Oberman feels; most Jewish people would probably feel extremely uncomfortable wearing a crucifix under normal circumstances - but as an actor? I can't really see the problem. I know a (fairly religious) Jewish lad who played Jesus Christ, in a student production of the Lloyd Webber musical, and you can't get much more extreme than that! (Although I suppose the Man Himself was actually Jewish, too.)

Come to think of it, if Oberman has such an objection, why is she playing a character called Chrissie? That's not exactly a Jewish name, is it ...