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!