“The Best of Enemies” is a stage adaptation of the film about the 1968 TV face-offs between arch-conservative pundit William F. Buckley and acerbic liberal author and wit Gore Vidal that climaxed with Buckley threatening to punch Vidal is the face. I haven’t seen it (which is now playing in London’s West End) or the film: I was lucky enough to see the original, live. Buckley was fascinating (and often hilarious); Vidal was the perfect iconoclast (I even had a correspondence with him briefly!), so I assume both play and film are at least entertaining. That’s not the issue at hand, however.
The issue is casting ethics. My position as a director and also from the ethics perspective is that a production’s obligations are to the audience and the work being presented, and everything else is subordinate at best. That does not mean that I am opposed to so-called “non-traditional casting;” indeed, I support it (and have done a lot of it as a director) when it benefits the play or musical. When funky casting accomplishes nothing but making activists happy or ticking off woke boxes at the expense of the show’s effectiveness, that’s unethical, plain and simple.