Last Saturday, The Fairy Princess took a coach and four horses (of the theatrical Apocalypse) to LA Stage Day, which was hosted by LA Stage Alliance, and she just wanted to reflect on a few thoughts from the day.
The Fairy Princess was extraordinarily touched to have been asked to be a Keynote Speaker – particularly because no one has ever asked her to comment on what she, in fact, wrote about…nor has she been asked to be on Panel Discussions or anything of that nature in regards to her thoughts on Diversity in theater.
She needs to thank the CEO of the LA Stage Alliance, Mr. Terence McFarland, someone that she has known for a long time, and admired, for inviting her to attend and be provocative.
The Fairy Princess knew exactly what she was going to say, and how she was going to say it, which was why she had hoped that there would be more Asian American faces in the audience…to say that my blood pressure was under control as I watched the audience file in, would be a lie. When she did not see that many API faces attending, it just resonated how far removed most API Actors and Actresses feel from the mainstream Los Angeles theater crowd, I hope most of them missed it because they had a matinee to attend.
However, I was grateful to see Michael Seel, Exec. Dir of The Boston Court Theater,
Drama Desk Winner (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) Deborah S. Craig,
Andy Lowe, Production Manager at East West Players,
and of course, Chil Kong of The Ovation Awards Nominating Committee,
out in the audience, looking at their faces calmed me down.
There was a comment made in a review of the day by Don Shirley, that I was ‘visibly choked by her fervor’, and The Fairy Princess just wanted to comment on that – it was not the ‘fervor’, it was looking out at the crowd and seeing Deborah S. Craig tearing up and Andy Lowe nodding yes, yes, yes at what I was saying, that had her a bit shaken.
Because she knew that they were representative of the friends who had gone through similar experiences that were named towards the end of the talk – being asked to be ‘more submissive’, told that they were ‘too bold’, told to “act more Asian”, and finally, one friend was told to change her makeup’s base color to gray, so that she would appear less ‘yellow’, and seeing them nod and agree, made her very emotional.
The Fairy Princess has been told all those things – well, not the makeup thing, but the other stuff for sure – and when you are repeatedly told those kind of negative things, it takes a toll on you. So as she looked at Deborah and Andy, and by their reactions ‘knew’ that they too, had had those experiences, the emotional response was overwhelming. Through her mind ran all the messages from friends who, throughout their careers, had had some really amazingly awful things said and done to them, in an attempt to ‘make them more Asian’ for theatrical purposes…and a moment had to be taken.
So…’fervor’…I don’t know…maybe?
The Fairy Princess could take a huge professional ‘hit’ for her comments, but if this was the one and only time she was to speak – she wanted it to count. Many people, after reading the blog, will tell her that “you are just saying what everyone else is thinking’, but it is one thing to blog, and it is quite another to stand in front of a few hundred people who may or may not choose to hear what you are saying with an open mind.
The Fairy Princess came to LA Stage Day a bundle of nerves, a bit nauseated, and she was truly humbled by the reception that she received. So many hugs, so many well wishes, so much was overwhelming…who would have thought?
The other Keynote Speakers were engaging and all spoke in their own way, about changing the way theater and the practitioners of theater, think. On inclusion, on fundraising, on innovation, on staying true to their own mission – it was a great group of speakers and I congratulate them all.
The text of the speech has not yet been posted – yes, it was recorded, perhaps it will be released in parts, at this point, The Fairy Princess is waiting to hear about it.
Thank you to all who contacted The Fairy Princess via Twitter and otherwise to let me know you were still thinking about what was said the next day – hope it will keep us all thinking the day after that. And the day after the day after that….
Thank you for listening. The most overwhelming part of the day was being able to say what I have thought in the past – and have it seemed to have been heard, it is an extraordinary feeling.