You know that it’s fantasy, playing dress up?

Last Wednesday, one London-based composer accused the production of “yellow washing”, explaining on Twitter: “It’s like blackface, but applied to East and South-East Asian characters [EASA]. It’s offensive and dehumanising for ESEA people. Opera folks, please learn about this and do better.”

Julian Chou-Lambert added that it was “not good enough” that out of six lead Chinese roles, just one is of ESEA descent.

He went on to say, “I don’t see any ESEA heritage people in the backstage/creative team” even though it is an opera set in China.

And the stage hands have to be Chinee too?

What’s really glorious about this is that they’d be happy if there were a couple of Thais, a Japanee and a Nepali in this. Which, to Chinese eyes would be more racist than just using whites. Because it would be saying that anyone sallow with slightly slitty eyes counts……which is in fact pretty racist.

20 thoughts on “You know that it’s fantasy, playing dress up?”

  1. I went to see Peter Pan the pantomine and I am pretty sure that Tiger Lily was not an American Indian – when will this scandal end?
    (That is a joke but it may come true).

  2. They’re totally fucked if they want to put on a production of War of the Worlds but can’t find any Martians for half the cast.

  3. Race Relations advisers tend to see the world through a view of ‘Whites bad – anyone else is sweetness and light’.

    It may be news to them that there are just as many racist (or, at least, nationalistic) differences amongst blacks and yellows. Hutu vs Tutsi, for instance. Insisting to the Koreans that a Japanese actor would be a fine representative of their nation during wartime might also meet with a bit of disagreement.

    I wonder if the well-known left-wing anti-semitism is really due to the left-wing just not understanding that Jews and Arabs really can’t get on….?

  4. Tim’s point but also Nesrine’s point doesn’t make sense either.

    She cites the Queen story in the mail. Yeah provocative-ish headline, but it’s headline-ese innit? Only if those who’ve just binged watched the tudors, could you think beheadings are on the cards. Both the byline and first line (still front page) says students voted to get rid of a portrait. So that’s the gist of the story- and people didn’t like it. Why does this appear as an example of bunkum news?

    And Nesrine compounds her error “Cornered on LBC last week, Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, reflexively defended the Queen against her “cancellation”, without pausing to think or question the source.” – um no Nesrine “its in the mail” isn’t enough to say bollox its not a fact. Well possibly you can about chocolate and house prices maybe and yes definitely point out that they may have an agenda, but this was a factual story with the main point up front, which was 100% true and Andy Burnham didn’t agree with taking down portraits of the queen. And you choose to use it an example of untrue narratives. D minus Nesrine.

    um is she saying that Andy Burnham couldn’t read the 2nd line? It wasn’t buried on page 93.

  5. Julian, how about we just close down the opera and other shows until we can get enough artists to do justice to your idea of fair representation?

    Meanwhile you still need to earn a living. So what’s it going to be, the wok or taking orders at the front counter?

  6. What annoys me about this is not some dickwit making a specious complaint, but that it is reported as if that mattered. One bloke had a moan on Twatter, that’s not “a row”.

  7. I’d better get my whinge in about all the whitewashing. How horrid that Shakespeare’s plays, for example, can be performed by other than whites; except for Othello of course.

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