Autistic Actors playing Autistic Characters

#1

Lots of debate in the world at the moment about having gay actors play gay characters, disabled actors play disabled characters etc. The argument being that actors with lived experience “know” the role better, and also marginalised groups should be offered employment.

I do not agree, I think the point of an actor is to act, and I actually think that insisting that only increasingly small minorities should play particular characters leaves those groups open to being pigeonholed rather than being able to play anything else. I’ve been watching a lot of theatre recently and it’s been interesting that characters are frequently gender swapped now so that theatres can hire good actors regardless of gender, and I like this as an approach to increase representation.

On the other hand, it’s hard to act as an autistic person when you’re not, and neither are the writers, and everyone misunderstands us anyway. Maybe we would be better off at this moment in time to have a rule of aspies playing aspies.

What do you think?

#2

i think acting is acting
i don’t see why people have to be autistic or gay to act autistic or gay characters
but there does have to be input from autistic or gay people to help explain how those people might react in different circumstances, or it probably won’t work
i also don’t see why gay or autistic actors can’t play straight or nt characters
its like being told as a writer that you can only ever write about what you have experienced - sure, well where do sci-fi and fantasy writers come from then?

#3

I understand people’s instincts in wanting to match actors to roles, but I disagree with it. The big problem is a lack of well written roles about people who aren’t non disabled straight white men, and a lack of opportunities for minority actors. Those are real problems that we should fix, but I don’t think demanding that, for example, a role where someone is autistic should always be played by an autistic person. I think the upshot of that would be a world where there are fewer of those roles and opportunities.

But I’m a big fan of making an effort to go and see culture which is diverse and well written roles roles and opportunities.