Archives for the month of: October, 2017

The Fairy Princess has a lot on her plate – she is co-emceeing the Pan Asian Repertory Golden Unicorn Gala Dinner on November 9th in NYC, which honors Arts Advocate, Andrea Louie, Actor Ron Nakahara, and Playwright, Edward Sakamoto to kick off it’s 41st Season!


Her car was totaled and she got hosed by State Farm….because 81 year olds with portable oxygen tanks who make left turns because the light turned green should totally be driving…


She attended a lecture at the Natural History Museum in Manhattan and came face to face with the work of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez (@MrEdgardoNYC) and his totally brilliant graphic novel portraying a female Super Hero of Puerto Rican descent – La Boriqueña, which she totally ordered and you should TOO…


Here is the link.


And now…because it is TFP, and because no one can have nice things EVER – we have to delve into why a man, a playwright, would write the story of a 14 year old’s rape – not just once, but for her entire lifetime, by one of our Founding Fathers, and think that is ok.

Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson – their story is one that the Jefferson Family has repeatedly tried to erase – they took out her room in the house and made it a bathroom,


they did not allow their children to share DNA tests that would prove that yes, they descended from America’s Founding Father, who somehow took the death bed promise he made to his first wife as carte blanche to rape the girl that was raised with his daughter, when they went to Paris.

Oh yeah, it’s awful.


Now, TFP, in light of #metoo (which yes, was a movement founded by a Black Woman over 10 years ago, not a child TV star) and in light of being, oh, just RESOLUTELY AGAINST SEXUALLY ABUSING CHILDREN is not down for this story.


What Thomas Jefferson did was rape a child.

As Daveed Diggs once said – and TFP is paraphrasing – one can acknowledge that someone is a great statesman and advocate for his country, and ALSO acknowledge that he was off raping children in Paris, which is reprehensible.

Now, Playwright, Thomas Bradshaw has written a play – THOMAS AND SALLY – which is being put on by the Marin Theatre Company, which is in Mill Valley, CA, which is in the surrounding area of San Francisco.

San Francisco, you say? Home of the uber liberals? Home of the West Coast LGBTQ Rights movement? Where Harvey Milk was to rise and ultimately be murdered for his demands that all peoples be included in equality?


This is outside of San Francisco though, and y’all know what that means…(apologies to Teen Vogue)


Mill Valley is not particularly diverse, and that is likely why they thought it was a good idea to produce this play –

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perhaps they thought it was slightly naughty, or that it is truly a love story.


Guess what?

Adults and children do not have ‘love stories’.


Now, this play is offensive on many levels – and before everyone goes off half-cocked, TFP wants to state, she does not deny a good controversial re-examining of this relationship in a play.

Sally Hemmings was a real person, with real feelings, and her role in history has long been denied and covered up – alleged but not explored.


So a re-examined Sally Hemmings vs. Thomas Jefferson, TFP is down for it – as long as it explores the parameters of what ACTUALLY happened to her, and her feelings towards it as a life long sexual slave ‘in service’ to Thomas Jefferson.

Here are things we know about Sally Hemmings –

  1. She was a mixed raced African American, born in 1773. – 3/4 white, 1/4 African
  2. She was the daughter of John Wayles and Betty Hemmings. Betty was a slave of mixed race, and John, oh HE was the FATHER to Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wayles Skelton. (TFP cannot with this, too gross)
  3. She came to Monticello as part of Thomas Jefferson’s wife’s inheritance. Her half sister, Martha Wayles Skelton, owned Sally Hemmings.
  4. At age 14, Sally went with the Jefferson’s youngest daughter, Polly, to Paris where Jefferson was serving as Minister for France. It is believed that their sexual relationship began in Paris.
  5. Sally Hemmings gave birth to 6 children, 4 of whom made it to adulthood.
  6. Thomas Jefferson NEVER freed Sally Hemmings. His daughter allowed her to go and live with her freed children upon Jefferson’s death. Sally Hemmings had 9 years before her death, to live with her children as free.

Now, this story gets pretty icky and complicated because Sally, and her brother James who was there in France as a chef with Jefferson, could have petitioned in France for their freedom. Slavery was abolished in France in 1789, and they would have been free.

That Sally did not petition for freedom was not due to ‘romance’, as apparently is put forth in this play – but because she was pregnant at 16 with Thomas Jefferson’s child.


A child who ultimately did not make it to adulthood – however Sally at 16 did not know that was going to happen when she agreed to return to the United States as a slave . She agreed to return on the condition (As per her son, Madison’s memoir) that all her children be freed when they reached 21.

Jefferson did free his children at 21, and he did have them trained as Artisans, so that they could make their living. Read that sentence again, he freed his children. Not “Sally’s Children Only that Miraculously Came from No Deed of his Own”, he freed his children, who he had fathered because over the years, he continued to rape their mother.

People allege that Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson is a love story. That is the premise of Thomas Bradshaw, and no one at MTC challenged him on his interpretation.


Was Elizabeth Smart and Brian David Mitchell, a love story?

Was Jaycee Lee Dugard and Phillip Garrido, a love story?


Neither was Sally Hemmings.

TFP believes that people have chosen to make this narrative into a love story because the perpetrator was a White Founding Father and because Sally Hemmings was a mixed race slave.


It is still rape. It was not ‘love’, it was rape.

She was a child.

This is not a romantic fling of different aged lovers, this is a white man Thomas Jefferson, using a mixed race girl, Sally Hemmings, for sexual relief without thought of her feelings, her physical needs, or judgement from society because at the time – most of the men in America sexually abused their slaves in some fashion – be it physical or sexual or both.

The reason Sally was sent to France with Jefferson’s daughter, is because the slave that was supposed to go with her, was pregnant – and…this is First Lady Abigail Adams‘s impression of Sally when she stayed with them briefly, before the two continued on to France –

“The Girl who is with (Polly) is quite a child, and Captain Ramsey is of the opinion, will be of so little service that he had better carry her back with him. But of this you will be a judge. She seems fond of the child and appears good naturd.”

And in a later letter:

“The Girl she has with her, wants more care than the child, and is wholy incapable of looking properly after her, without some superiour to direct her.”

There you go – Sally Hemmings was, from her actual age, and from the way she acted – a child. We have an eyewitness account from a future First Lady of the United States to tell us, in her own words, the view she had of Sally Hemmings when she arrived overseas.

She was not a mature lady playing a child, as it is in this play  –  she was an actual child.

Elizabeth Smart was 14 when she was taken and raped for 9 months by a fanatic who called her his bride. Jaycee Duggard was 11.

If you happen to have a 14 year old in your life, please go and think how you would feel if a man who was 44 years old, decided that she was going to have a sexual relationship with him. TFP assumes you would do everything in your power to remove this 14 year old from the orbit of this man, who was stalking her.

Sally Hemmings did not have you there. Sally Hemmings had no legal right to assert herself, to go to the authorities, to report this man because…he owned her. He owned her and he had the ‘right’ to do with her person as he wished.

Perhaps, after the initial shock of being raped at 14, and years together as his sexual outlet, perhaps she did submit to Stockholm Syndrome and come to think she cared for him, but if that had been her final take on it, she would have been much older.

That was never a decision that a child could ‘willingly’ make. It was never a decision that slave could make – because slaves were not allowed to make decisions – and Sally Hemmings was always owned by Thomas Jefferson.

She was never freed. Not officially.

This is story that is American, and it is disturbing. An actual examination of the story would be welcome – not just for historical accuracy, but because the sufferings of Black Women have been muted by our lack of reporting on them.

Thomas Bradshaw, could have done a real service here, choosing to really reflect what happened to Sally Hemmings.


Examine the myth, examine the monster.

The Marin County Theater could have done a real service for women of history that are known from history because of things that they were not allowed to decide upon – rape, incest, forced marriages, beatings, honor killings, murder, forced relationships – all things that women of all kinds know to be part of their universal story of being women.

Black Women have suffered crimes that all women have suffered and more, and they should have been consulted and imput taken from them. Taking Sally Hemmings’ story from her and romanticizing it – justify the treatment she received.

Thomas Jefferson has not been brought to justice.

He raped a child as she left childhood and then he raped a woman – in front of his family, and in front of the family they made together. He never freed her.

His Daughter let her leave. His daughter, who had born witness to this slavery, who watched her Mother’s half sister have to suffer this man, this great Statesman, and know who and what he was doing – she was the only one who refused to let it continue.

Honestly we do not know if it was because of embarrassment or compassion – but  she allowed Sally Hemmings to live out her last years with her children. She was not officially freed by anyone, but this daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph, “gave her ‘her time’.’ (Which was a way of unofficially freeing her).

That is the story of Sally Hemmings.

Now, MTC (which never should have produced a story like this without the knowledge and experience of Black Women Artists local and available to them in the Bay Area, but they DID) held a facilitated meeting with local Activists on October 24th.

It did not go well. Not surprising as MTC reacted to a peaceful protest by REGINA’S DOOR, (a group that was comprised of survivors of sexual trafficking and local artists )-  by calling the Police on them.

They called the police on survivors of sexual trafficking.


Wrap your head around that. That is a pretty spectacular way to make sure you do not hear the reasons that this play and it’s viewpoint – that Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings was a love story – were filled with troublesome issues.

Furthermore, even MTC acknowledge that the subject was ‘icky’ in it’s own way – putting a photo of a mature actress playing the role on the poster, as opposed to an image of a 14 year old girl. Which is based on historical fact.

There is a petition going around, and TFP is asking you to sign it – please go and read what they have written BELIEVE THEM – and sign the petition.

TFP lends support where it is needed, and standing up for Sally Hemmings is but one area in this world – in our collective theatrical world – where it IS needed.

Women of the Theater, this should trouble you ALL – regardless of how you ‘identify’, we, as women, should all come out against rape, against sexual slavery. Against re-writing a narrative where a man almost three times the age of a 14 year old is romanticized and put forth as a great man.

Harvey Weinstein produced great movies. Harvey Weinstein raped and sexually attacked women.

Thomas Jefferson was a great statesman who pioneered democracy as we know it. Thomas Jefferson also raped a 14 year old and kept her in his household until his death.

Not that different a story. Powerful men being given access and time to pursue the most low of practices.

History is also Herstory.

Her name was Sally Hemmings, and she deserved better.


TFP out.





The Fairy Princess does not, repeat, NOT want to be writing yet again, on erasing East Asian people from narratives where they belong.


Here is the scoop – there is a German playwright, Roland Schimmelpfennig.


(Yes, it’s Schimmelpfennig and yes, TFP‘s German diction teacher would be appalled at how far she has fallen.)

He happens to be one of the most produced playwrights in Europe, and that is awesome. That being said, when you are one of the most produced playwrights and your work is translated by David Tushingham, perhaps some of the intention that was innately German falls through the cracks.


What ‘we’ the English speaking world are left with is a play which intends, intends being a very important word here, to be a post-racial, post-sexual, post-ageist dystopian dwelling where the beings frolic and pick up and discard ethnicities without regard to the confines of modern society.

Except the confines of this play are set in a – wait for it – Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant.

Which would ostensibly have East Asians in it – otherwise, would not it just be called “A Restaurant”?

If there are no East Asians in it, and it is not really about East Asians because it is post racial, then why is it in an Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant, since in dystopian futures does not everyone eat out of squished food packets solely for nutrition or some such nonsense?

Bladerunner anyone?


Now, Boston Court Theater of Los Angeles – who in the past has made efforts to diversify their casting, and we totally give them credit for that, though they relied a bit too much on the ‘We just cannot find any‘ trope in terms of actual diversity on the stage – did this play in May of 2016.

They had a ‘mixed’ cast – because, as TFP was told – ‘they just could not find any‘ for a full East Asian cast – and so…in her estimation, it was problematic, but for the contract they were offering and the money they were offering…these things happen.

They did have East Asians in the cast, and they did just as much zipping through characters as everyone else. Because it was a diverse cast talking about and dealing with the repercussions of race, it was not totally incendiary.

The reviews were not amazing, here are two of the headlines about the piece at Boston Court – Charles McNutly of the LA Times called it “Gobalization in a white takeout carton“. BroadwayWorld said “Confusion, Mostly Unintended, Abounds in The Golden Dragon.”

BroadwayWorld also said that the accents and the portrayals of various types of people were exaggerated and stereotypical, and that the writing did not provide enough set up to preclude confusion.

Was this play to be ever performed again? Well, yes. Because Schimmelpfennig is one of the most produced playwrights in Europe. So, no matter what happened in Pasadena – and from several personal accounts, though there were good moments, it was not a knockout – it was not a surprise when  Music Theatre Wales decided to tour a production of The Golden Dragon. Now, an opera.

After all, it’s slightly dark, and Germanic and mistakenly reviewed as Brechtian, so…one can see that kind of dystopian storytelling would appeal to people in Wales.

Truthfully, productions vary greatly, so go ahead Music Theatre Wales give it another shot…or those were TFP’s thoughts until she saw their cast photos.


TFP could not help but notice…in this dystopian future where race does not matter – all the actors/singers are white.


Now, the British Empire at one time was so powerful that the sun never set upon it – that on every continent it had some sort of land holding that allowed it to collect taxes and enslave people of every shape and form – and to a large extent, even though the empire is not quite so large…the people of Britain are a relatively diverse group.

Unless we are talking about representation on stage. The British Stage and Screen is not where you find vast diversity.

In fact, they have so little diversity on the British Stage and Screen that the white people are noting that working class white actors have also been being ravaged by the upper classes, because of cost.

When white people turn on white people, you know there is some discrimination going on.


East Asian representation is so low in the U.K., that the actors have had to band together and keep fighting, every, single day – to play the people in stories where they belong. The Department for Culture, Media, and Sport released a report recently that said British Asian audiences are down with attendance by 7 points over the recent years – which has been specifically linked to not enough portrayals of British Asian stories or actors to view.

It is not that we are saying EVERY piece needs to have a British East Asian – although that would be nice – but where they are expected to be – at the VERY least, they should be there.

East Asians can be just as dystopian as the next actor – or have you not seen Leonardo Nam on WESTWORLD?


BTW, Leo is an Aussie.

Take THAT, British Empire!


Quite frankly, even if this restaurant of muddled and unspecific East Asian heritage is for practical reasons ‘set’ in Germany – it is still a restaurant of muddled and unspecific East Asian heritage!

This play takes place in a Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese post racial restaurant called The Golden Dragon. This could and should have been an inclusive moment in Welsh theater – and before you say ‘there are no East Asians in Wales” – let me tell you that TFP is of Welsh descent.

As her concert pianist Grandmother would tell her over and over ‘Of course that is why you can sing, you are Welsh.”

Only Welsh people will get that, it’s ok.


Should have been inclusive because both East Asians and Welsh have an affinity for Dragons in their cultures – and there could have been real dialogue here.

Sadly, once again, the British are erasing East Asian faces from their stages, while appropriating their culture as a setting to tell a story. Yes, yes, we know that MTW did not write the piece – but they cast it – and the offense is in the casting, not the script. (Although…the script is not TFP’s favorite)

This is wrong, this is whitewashing, and, this does not serve the play.

You cannot have a post racial world with only white people.

This play deals with gender issues and they have acknowledged that and cast women – so why not acknowledge that every person within this play has to play an East Asian and therefore, there should be some East Asians in the cast.

Segregating people is not what the theater or opera does. It should not be the responsibility of the British East Asian Actors to have to rise up again, and again, to make their faces seen and their voices heard.

Music Theater Wales, as a person of Welsh descent, TFP is unhappy with you.


You are TOURING this production throughout the UK, spreading the erasure of East Asians hither and yon like a touring promo for #Brexit.

Birmingham Repertory Theater, though you issued an apology for hosting this tour, it came off very #sorry not sorry, covering your bottoms in case of controversy a bit too much for TFP‘s taste.

You have a moral responsibility to ensure that what you are bringing into your ‘house’, the stories you are choosing to tell, have authenticity and inclusion.

Birmingham Rep!

Stop this horror show!


In other news, lest TFP forget –  Natalie Portman.

Yes, Natalie Portman. Dammit.

She now has a spot on ‘the shirt” – because of her new film, Annihilation.


TFP does not know if they are going to put her along the bottom or start a new row on the back, but, sadly, Natalie made this list.

The film is based on a book, by Jeff Vandermeer, in which the character she plays- The Biologist –  is described thusly:

“The biologist’s hair had been long and dark brown, almost black, before they’d shaved it off. She had dark, thick eyebrows, a slight, slightly off-center nose (broken once, falling on rocks), and high cheekbones that spoke to the strong Asian heritage on one side of her family.”


What is odd is that Ms. Portman has always been an advocate for various causes. She happens to be of dual Israeli and American citizenship, and always takes on roles that ‘push’ her.

TFP just did not know the quest for those roles would push her to whitewash in the new film, Anihilation directed by Alex Garland.

The trickle down effect is that Ms. Portman has taken a role from an actress OF Mixed Asian descent.

This is a big deal – because with all the whitewashing Hollywood does, what all the talking does is make people aware, but what talking does not do is ‘solve the problem‘ of ‘there are no Asian American Movie Stars!“.

They cast Natalie Portman instead of an Asian American who, by dint of being IN this film, would become an Asian American movie star.

CRAZY RICH ASIANS is not out yet, and there is hope – for HELLBOY and for John Cho in COLUMBUS – but every role counts!

Especially since every role that has gone to a Asian American can be counted on TFP‘s fingers and toes!


You know who has made the only significant move towards diversifying and including Asian Americans in the ‘movie star’ club?



YES! When Ed Skrein pulled out of HELLBOY because he was unaware that the source material had Major Ben Daimio as a person of Mixed Asian descent, he cleared the way for Daniel Dae Kim to be cast.

Thus, effecting change.


Anihlation is already shot – TFP is not going to give Ms. Portman a pass that she ‘did not know’, because Natalie Portman is a friggin genius, and she is known for intense research. If she read the words on the page and ignored them – she is part of the problem.


Also, in the same film, do not even get TFP started on Jennifer Jason Leigh and her Native American descent, because unless she does happen to be Native American?

Let’s sic Adam Beach on her and see what happens.






TFP out!