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Given the instruction in Deuteronomy 22:5, how do you feel we can reconcile the practice of cross gender casting? Can we? I have directed several shows and have never thought much about having the girls in the ensemble wear a suit so I can have matching pairs for the dance numbers. I have also had actors (usually girls) play minor roles of the opposite sex simply because I was short on male options. Only recently have I been challenged on this practice and I'm not sure what the best response would be. Does anyone have a good Biblical perspective on this long-standing theatrical practice?

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I may not be the best person to ask, but the fact that you have only recently been challenged on this suggests to me that it's not something that particularly bothers you or the performers -- so that suggests to me someone external to the community/cast is trying to rope you into an issue. 

Do you (or your community) adhere to every Old Testament law? or just some? It would seem to me that any sincere answer to someone who asked this as a sincere challenge would have to be contextualized within a broader theology of what one's overall relationship was to the Old Testament ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_the_Old_Covenant )

As someone who did a lot of drama in high-school (but not as an adult), I think theater helps us become more empathetic and hence moral, since I think empathy is the foundation of most New Testament theology. But that's just one man's opinion....

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I have seen this verse used recently, though not in relation to theater, and want to be prepared for potential criticism on this front. Your point is a good one. Since I have already heard this applied to the current issues on transgender and/or cross dressing, I am more curious how we define theater as a unique situation that doesn't apply in this case. Based on some other conversations I have had since posting this, I do believe that the context of the verse is very important. In the theater, we are not attempting to deceive anyone regarding the gender of the actor in question. They are 'playing' a role and therefore not applicable in this situation. It's not an ironclad argument, but since the Bible does not specifically address this practice for the stage, it may be the best one available. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

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Jerry that makes some sense. If the people questioning you are sincere (it sounds like you think they are) than I might personally also try to reframe the practice --

For example: well, this allows us to include more girls in the ensemble, and research shows that theater helps build self-esteem and confidence, so I think it is important to let as many young women reap these benefits as possible. (Or conversely, to help men become more empathetic and in touch with their feelings.)

 

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