The Fairy Princess, much like the rest of the world, has been glued to the news of the fires in Australia, and the earthquakes in Puerto Rico.

Here is a list of organizations you can give $$$ to to help with Fire efforts in Australia – it includes groups that assist volunteer fireman, animals, and people – and it is the most comprehensive list TFP has seen. It lists explanations as to where the money will go and it lists organizations that are doing the work.

TFP encourages you to also give to Puerto Rican Disaster Relief, in particular a rather easy way to give, is to purchase a copy of #RICANSTRUCTION, a comic book anthology she contributed a story to.

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To this date, they have given $140K in direct grants. TFP also likes BStrong which, again, is a boots on the ground organization, giving cash and other supplies to people who need them.

Please give what you can. Anything is great.

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TFP also would like to particularly thank Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, for it’s donation to Fire Efforts – she is an Aussie, an American, and a longtime AEA member, and she is very touched that an organization she has raised money for, and donated to – would extend themselves this way.

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Right now, she is fully understanding the point of view of the Aboriginal Elders and Indigenous Peoples around the world who say that Mother Earth is angry with ‘us’, the humans categorically destroying it so a few billionaires can head towards being trillionaires, haphazardly using plastic, and drilling, and over taxing resources like…the OCEAN, and the LAND, and the AIR – and honestly – where do people think they are going to go?

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TFP cannot EVEN with the lack of leadership in both the United States and Australia that allows Climate Change to continue on unchecked, simply because it does not make the oil and coal industries money.

She is exceedingly angry, all the time. All the time. Because she is a dual citizen of Australia and the United States. Not through immigration, through birth – her Mother was born in Australia, thus she registered TFP when she was born in the USA.

That was the law at the time, TFP‘s child is not an Australian – which is upsetting but…one supposes he can get a visa to visit his VERY LARGE EXTENDED FAMILY in Oz.

Or she can just show him photos of what it used to look like.

When the Great Barrier Reef was full of color and not bleached out and dying.

When the Barramundi were not in danger of being fished out.

When the koalas still had habitat and the kangaroos, emus, Tasmanian devils, wallabys and so on, were not being burned alive like hell’s barbeque.

Actually, she would like to send a lot of those politicians swimming off the Reef and just…paddle the boat away, frankly.

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What’s the worst that could happen?

She would advise wet suits for the chill and so that they look much more like seals or sea lions.

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However amidst all THAT – all the world’s attention on the fires, TFP does have to mention that the Darlinghurst Theater Company – a professional theater in Sydney, is doing A CHORUS LINE.

You know- the very famous musical about American Chorus Dancers auditioning for a Broadway show for a (manipulative, and controlling pyschopathic) Director who makes them give him their lives before he allows a small number of them to work in his show.

It was concepted by Michael Bennett and his extended circle of dancers spent HOURS meeting and talking into a tape recorder about their lives and then he purchased their stories from them for a DOLLAR, someone brought in Marvin Hamlisch and the rest is Broadway history – except for the ‘kids’ who spent lots of time talking whose stories did NOT make it into the show.

That is what theater IS, to a very large extent. Lots of white guys taking the pain of lots of people of color and turning a profit.

Yeah, harsh – but think about it.

This is also why now AEA monitors workshops and readings of shows.

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One of the dancers was Baayork Lee – and let’s see her work for a second, she is in the green dress here, on the 1969 TONY Awards show, repping for PROMISES, PROMISES.

Here she is with ‘The Michael Bennett Dancers”, clogging, in ‘A JOYFUL NOISE” – and she has the FIRST close up and is at the far left.

Here she is at the CHORUS LINE REUNION

Here she is, ACCEPTING HER SPECIAL TONY AWARD for not only her choreography and directing and dancing career – but for starting her own Theater Company – NAAP – National Asian Artist Project.

She is one of the O.G.’s for Asian Americans in Theater.

A Chinese American, born and raised in New York City’s Chinatown, who went to see theater as a child, and chose to dance.

She was the inspiration and the ‘Original Broadway Cast” member for the role of CONNIE WONG in CHORUS LINE.

Everyone knows this.

EVERYONE knows that Connie is Asian in the show.

(Baayork Lee and TFP have had our differences, but…BUT…that does not change things in terms of respect, history, or the right way things should be done)

Michael Bennett asked her to come and share her story, he asked her to be in the show, he created a role for her – an example of the dichotomy that was Michael Bennett – so that there would always ‘have’ to be an AAPI person in the role of Connie Wong.

This has helped countless young dancers over the years – but it is not going to be the same in Australia, unfortunately. Because local Helpman Award Winning Director/Choreographer, Amy Campbell said that

“I didn’t precast any of the roles … everything was up for grabs,That’s what A CHORUS LINE is all about – it’s about auditioning for a show – so I felt that everyone should be given a chance.”

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As you can see, at first glance, the cast appears to be diverse – for Australia, which has has some issues with that in the past, which is a nice improvement – here is the cast – and the theater is in Sydney, which is a theater hub- plenty of folks around to audition.

This screen shot has been grabbed straight from their website.

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So the show that is supposed to be about multi-ethnic dancers in New York – with surnames to match – Wong, Morales – those surnames are used in the show, are specific and related to text in the show.

Some of the characters discuss name changes, self acceptance, body changes (plastic surgery), changes oh, down below, up above... However there are specific surnames that go with specific parts – because there are quips written into the script about the dancer’s background.

“But I said to myself, “Hey it’s only the first week – maybe it’s genetic. They don’t have bobsleds in San Juan!” – Diana Morales – Song “Nothing”, from CHORUS LINE

Obviously, the Actor/Dancer in that role, is supposed to reflect that experience. Does that mean that everyone who plays Morales should be Puerto Rican?

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In a perfect world, yes.

We do not live in a perfect world, so within the diaspora of Latin and/or Hispanic countries would of course, be acceptable – much more so than say, someone in a bad wig.

Let’s look at Connie Wong, the Character, in this production.

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The surname she has is rooted in Malta, and then Greece – and then ostensibly, Australia.

We need to ask the Helpman Award Winning Director, Amy Campbell how she imagines that this performer – who seems to be an excellent dancer, having just appeared as Anybodys in WEST SIDE STORY, is going to pull off the following dialogue which is from the script.

TFP will give you one answer – she won’t be able to ‘sell this’ – and no one should ask her to.

CONNIE: Connie Wong. Always Wong and never White. Sorry, bad joke. Born in Chinatown.

Zach: How old are you?

CONNIE: I was born in the year, four thousand, five hundred and sixty two the Year of the Chicken.

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The other question to ask is why the actress in question chose to change her head shot for the CHORUS LINE poster to the current one – was that because the theater company was trying to make her look Asian?

Because that, oh dear reader, is yellowface.

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Now, everyone in Australia, don’t go after this Actress – she did not hire herself. She just auditioned and she is playing the hand she is dealt. She is likely an amazing dancer.

But everyone can play cards, and one has been dealt already….

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This casting is forcing us all to look, YET AGAIN, at the innate racism that Australia routinely shows to Asian performers of their own.

Anyone remember the Caucasian King in The King & I at Sydney Opera House. Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rohdes?

His Girlfriend was Mrs. Anna, so he got to be “The King” = they had to fly Jason Scott Lee in from Hawaii to fix that mess.

Mr. Lee broke his ankle, so Lou Diamond Phillips flew in to replace him.

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Then we had the thing at The MUNY where they were doing yellowface in Jerome Robbin’s Broadway, and the Actress they got to be Tuptim? Australian. And she was apparently gutted that that kind of ‘thing’, which was acceptible ‘at home’, did not fly in the States!

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Remember this show that had to be pulled from last year’s Melbourne Fringe – Aisha, the Aussie Geisha?

From self proclaimed comedienne, Kate Hanley Corey?

Do NOT tell me that Australia, and it’s performance community does NOT have an issue with Asians on the stage, because CLEARLY when you have to import them from another country, when you have been known to label your country “The Gateway to Asia”, so you can make $$$ off tourism, something is wrong.

Fair Dinkum, Mate – the Bloody Climate Change burning everyone to hell and back – and you throw racism on the top like a beetroot on a burger?

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So again, nothing to do with the Dancer in question except she cannot pull this dialogue off.  Year of the Chicken, which is a joke about the Year of the Rooster, but likely if you are not Asian, you won’t know this.

TFP does not ‘buy’ that out of the hundreds of dancers that Ms. Campbell purportedly saw for this role, she could not find someone of Asian descent to do it.

TFP thinks this for several reasons – the first being, her Mum, who was born and raised in Australia during a much less open time than now, went through the British Royal Ballet system and became a Certified Advanced Teacher – and she was from CAIRNS – if you can be from CAIRNS and rise through the ballet world – it is possible to find one Asian Aussie who can do the choreo that TFP learned as a child in musical theater class at the age of 11 because her teacher thought she would eventually need it!

Because she was shorter.

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Literally we are not known for our towering heights – so no, Ms. Campbell, you just wanted to work with someone you knew, and you  thought that the dancing outweighed the ethnicity.

TFP wants you, Ms. Campbell, to really look at what you did here – you took a work that was written to reflect EVERYONE and you made it something else. Yes, you have many diverse faces in the company – but having a diverse face, does not negate erasure of a KNOWN ROLE, and it does not negate the fact that you think changing the Actress’s headshot would get you out of a sticky conversation!

This is not acceptable.

If you are going to turn to us and say that this is the “non Asian” version of Connie, ‘Ms. Connie Edna May Sue MacKenzie from Greenville, North Carolina” – a version that yes, can be done, and is allowed for by licensing, then WHY IS HER HEADSHOT ON THE POSTER SO DIFFERENT FROM HER ACTUAL HEADSHOT?

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Finally, Ms. Campbell – and yes, there are other things in the world TFP is worried about and really, she just wants her little cousins, who are Chinese descent, to be able to go to a friggin musical and see themselves once in a BLOODY while – TFP would like you to watch Ms. Yuka Takara, who did the revival of CHORUS LINE on Broadway and what she has to say about representation and what this show and Baayork Lee’s being there meant to her.

She says she did not know that theater was ‘for her’.

Theater is for everyone.

However thanks to people like you, she did not know that.

Thanks to people like Baayork Lee, she now knows that.

People need to see themselves once in a while. Frankly, you have done a huge disservice with this casting to Asians in Australia – my Family is now up to 6 Generations in Australia. TFP really did not think that Aussies ‘saw’ her, so she does not live there – although she would much prefer it.

You have just proven that point. Even when we are written to be ‘there’, you do not choose to see ‘us’ – and that is a definite choice.

200 Smacks of the Wand to you. TFP sentences you to make a wildlife contribution of at least $100 AUS.

Yes, TFP is choosing the wildlife!

TFP picks the koalas and kangaroos over this production – and she advises Asian Aussies to do the same.

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