Archives for posts with tag: Grimm

The Fairy Princess likes change.

SCIENCE! IT WORKS!

SCIENCE! IT WORKS!

Although the current New York weather, aka The Great Blizzard of 2015, is potentially going to be a nightmare of frigid proportions

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TFP still enjoys change.

Also, she like s people who can hear about something, acknowledge that there is a problem, and change their mindset so that the problem can be solved. It does not even have to have a name this problem, but if you like, go ahead and name it…

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Nevermind, the problem TFP was concerned with already has a name, we call it “Yellowface”.

And, occasionally it looks like this:

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Or this:

Actor Lambert Wilson as The King of Siam in a French Production of King & I

Actor Lambert Wilson as The King of Siam in a French Production of King & I

Or this:

Jered McLenigan as Anthony - Photo by Mark Garvin

Jered McLenigan as Anthony – Photo by Mark Garvin

Seriously, TFP could post photo after photo of this kind of thing and what it is IS (for those not in the know), is a Caucasian Actor donning makeup and clothes to portray an Asian person, and in this day and age in 2015, it is not cool.

TFP honestly gets no joy in writing about this phenomenon again and again, it’s like riding a rocking horse so fast you get motion sickness, and no matter HOW many times you write about it and no matter how many people acknowledge that it seems in poor taste,  it happens again, and you are back on that damn rocking horse and you feel a bit like…well….

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Like no one is hearing you.

Such was the case when TFP wrote this post about a production of The King and I that was happening at Dallas Summer Musicals this summer, when they announced the casting of a Caucasian King.

TFP was pretty annoyed…images

She wrote her blog and said what she had to say, as she does from time to time, and quite a lot of people read it, thanks to the internet thingy and a very fired up Orville Mendoza

 AAPAC, (Asian American Performers Action Coalition) also wrote a letter.

And guess what?

We had a response from Mr. Michael Jenkins!

Mr. Michael Jenkins, head of Dallas Summer Musicals

Mr. Michael Jenkins, head of Dallas Summer Musicals

He read many of the emails sent about this issue, was no doubt told of the strenuous objections posted on the Facebook wall of his organization, and here was his response:

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TFP was delighted to hear that Dallas Summer Musicals will re-cast their King!

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And now, here is her ‘charge’ to the API denizens of the Dallas/Ft.Worth area – GO TO THIS SHOW AND…..

MAKE IT RAIN

MAKE IT RAIN

That’s right, TFP wants You, Asian America, to PROVE that you will stand with those who will represent you and your stories and BUY A TICKET.

Be prepared, you may have to PAY FULL PRICE!

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Yes, really.

Because what you are paying for, is a top notch production on a world class stage full of Asian Americans who will be singing and dancing their hearts out and they NEEDS TA GIT PAID!

Why?

Because APIs buying tickets and supporting the hiring of APIs onstage leads to great things for our community – more visibility.

Right now, we, the API Community are in a wonderful, starting off place, we have shows on television where we are represented – Karen David in GALAVANT, Reggie Lee in GRIMM, Maggie Q in STALKER, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Masi Oka in H50, Ming Na Wen and Chloe Bennet on AGENTS of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mindy Kaling in THE MINDY SHOW, Lucy Liu on ELEMENTARY…and we have these charming kids ready to premiere on Feb. 4 on ABC….

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But we are not on everything. We are not at the Oscars. We are not at the Golden Globes. We are not at The Tonys in a discernible way.  We are not at the big award shows on the podium winning awards, you know, the shows that ‘everyone’ watches and grows up dreaming about being on. There is a path to that, and we are still at the beginning.

Look, in order to get more of us on television, we have to ‘prove’ we are bankable, and that proof starts at the ground level. If we were to steal a phrase from a popular tv show, APIs in show business, we need you, the (much more sensible) APIs not in show business, we need you to be ‘our person’.

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If you are an Asian Pacific Islander living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, even if you do not like musicals, even if you have never seen a musical, if you can afford the ticket price, buy one and go – show them that Asians on the stage means Asian butts in the seats.

Because all the theater wants is a full house, and they do not care what color the people sitting in them are, as long as they are S.R.O. (Sold Right Out)

Yes, they made a misstep in the casting in the first place – but the show was not up yet, TFP and Orville Mendoza ‘caught’ it in time to make a difference, but we cannot do it alone. We have to have the support of the general API Community to show that our faces on the stage matter!

Yes, Mr. Jenkins may not be aware that Yul Brynner’s Russian heritage included Mongolian and that Lou Diamond Philips has Filipino heritage, which makes them both men OF Asian heritage, which means they were perfectly suited to play The King, yes – yes we know.

Yes, they have cast many APIs before in various shows, and really did not understand what the message they were sending was…(maybe they thought it was like Weight Watcher points and they get to spend them when they want to splurge or something, and btw, casting APIs is not like WW points at all)

BUT NOW THEY DO.

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LESSON LEARNED.

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MOVE ON.

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BUY A TICKET.

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Or you will have wasted all TFP’s time and outrage, and many others. We, the Actors, cannot do this alone. We cannot fight for all of ‘our’ representation by ourselves, we need your support!

BUY A TICKET.

Tickets

SELL IT OUT.

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CAN YOU DO IT?

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MAKE IT LOOK LIKE THIS:

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That is all.

Finally, Mr. Jenkins, Dallas Summer Musicals, and Glenn Casale, The Fairy Princess thanks you for taking the time and conversation amongst yourselves to make a change in your thinking. She appreciates the big step you took in acknowledging that a mistake was made, and she thanks you for taking the time and effort and financial cost to fix it.

She also wishes Mr. Jenkins a healthy recovery and a great summer season with which to enjoy it.

Christiane Noll and Paul Nakauchi as Anna & The King

Christiane Noll and Paul Nakauchi as Anna & The King JUST AS AN EXAMPLE

Remember, APIs of Texas, we can help you from afar with changing things, but you have to stand WITH us in this ‘battle’ and buy a ticket.

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TFP out.

The Fairy Princess just wanted to have a peaceful Thursday.

She wanted to watch Scandal, and see if anyone ate their arm off to escape twenty years of incarceration, and perhaps sip a hot chocolate while doing so.

There were some excellent things that occurred this last week, and while she generally sticks to commenting on theater, attention must be paid to Hollywood who has made some cool decisions this week.

To begin with, Reggie Lee– aka Sgt. Wu on NBC’s GRIMM got his own mythical creature of horror to love and rear and name Aswang.

Obviously, the Aswang is on the right....

Obviously, the Aswang is on the right….

The Aswang is so completely a creature that Filipino parents would use to scare children, that I cackled with laughter when I saw it. An Aswang sneaks into a pregnant woman’s bed and eats her unborn child. (I mean, of course, that is really, really bad, but that is definitely an Asian fairy tale – because most of them lead to someone having bodily harm, dying, or getting stuck in a mountain for millions of years – all designed to make us behave and continue to practice piano as we study to be a doctor while doing math problems in our heads.)

The ratings  were FANTASTIC – so yay for Diversity, for Reggie Lee, and for Grimm fans who, let’s face it, might like to not always have to look to a Teutonic dictionary to figure out what is going on every week. Yes, I watch the show, and yes I love the show, but change is good too.

Alec Mapa, currently seen on the ABC Family show, Switched At Birth, as Lea Thompson’s new Gay “Bestie”….

This photo screams subtle, nuanced drama...or maybe that's just my take

This photo screams subtle, nuanced drama…or maybe that’s just my take

is getting an award this coming Saturday in Hollywood – The Fusion Achievement Award from OUTFEST’s Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival – which is the only multi-cultural film festival of it’s kind – dedicated to nurturing, showcasing and protecting LGBT Media. Oh – and, speaking of OH – Sandra Oh is going to be on hand to present him with his award, and therefore I give you THIS little gem to enjoy….

Although they probably will not talk about that kind of stuff when she’s presenting him with his fancy award, which coincides with the World Premiere of his new Concert film, Baby Daddy. The Fairy Princess has seen Baby Daddy several times live, and gives it a hearty recommendation – especially if you are a Parent.

Finally, a THIRD good thing announced this week, was the completion of the Casting of Far East Orlando, formerly known as Fresh Off The Boat. The pilot stars Randall Park as the Father, Constance Wu as the Mom, Ian Chen (Gary), Hudson Yang (Eddie), and Forrest Wheeler (Freddy). It is based on the memoir by Celebrity Chef, Eddie Huang – and if it gets ‘the order’, it will give us the first funny Asian American Family on a major network since Margaret Cho’s All American Girl. 

Photo by Jeff Yang

Photo by Jeff Yang

If it gets a ‘order’ and runs at least 4-5 seasons, these small children will be able to buy and sell us all, so finger’s are crossed for you, Kids!

So everything was going good, yes? Seems like Hollywood was doing way better than Theater (Particularly theater in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, ahem). Until I read about Rooney Mara being Cast as Tiger Lily in the new big screen film being directed by Joe Wright.

Just so we are all on the same page – there is a play and a novel – called  Peter Pan, Or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, and it was written by J.M. Barrie  – who was Scottish. He wrote the play in 1904, and the novel later in 1911.

Author, J.M. Barrie

Author, J.M. Barrie

Scholars believe that the character of Peter is based  in part on Barrie’s brother, David, who died in an accident at age 14. His Mother, Margaret had a hard time with David’s passing, as he was her favorite, and the way she coped was by enjoying a fantasy that David would never grow up, and therefore never leave her. He also based Peter on his friendships with the 5 young sons of Arthur  & Sylvia Llewelyn Davies – to whom, after their parents passed, he became Guardian. The boys were named George, John, Peter, Michael, and Nicholas. He made up the “Peter Pan’ stories to keep the boys amused – but of course, he needed to create a world in which the characters lived, and so he decided upon “Neverland”.

Neverland is not a real place, of course, it is a dream. But, as with all dreams – and as even, with the character of Peter himself, Barrie based them on what was happening around him – he even named most of the characters for people that he knew. Peter, Wendy, John – all people he knew.

Though he may have known someone who was Native American, upon whom Tiger Lily was based, the odds are that she is simply a ‘made up’ character because he, as had most of the UK at the time, would have grown up hearing about stories of the American West and the British wars with the Native Populations of America, playing ‘Cowboys and Indians”.

Or, it could have been a fun story device – whatever the reason, he made up a name of a Tribe – the Piccaninny, which he based on Native American tribes, and made Tiger Lily their Princess and to a certain extent, a rival for Peter’s affections for Wendy Darling.

The description of Tiger Lily is, according to Wikipedia:

  • Tiger Lily is the proud, beautiful princess of the Piccaninny Tribe. In the book, the Indians of Neverland were portrayed in a nature that is now regarded as stereotypical.[9] Barrie portrayed them as primitive, warlike savages who spoke with guttural voice tones.[9] She is apparently old enough to be married, but she refuses any suitors because she desires Peter over all. She is jealous of Wendy and Tinker Bell. Tiger Lily is nearly killed by Captain Hook when she is seen boarding the Jolly Roger with a knife in her mouth, but Peter saves her.

Having studied literature at the University of Edinburgh,  Barrie would have been most familiar with the British image of the ‘noble savage, which became very popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. J.M. Barrie was born in 1860, so when he created the character of Tiger Lily and her tribe in Peter Pan, the images he may have seen of “Noble Savages’ might have been something like this:

Description: Portrait of a Native American woman, half-length directed to right, wearing feather headdress and holding a quiver with arrows Etching on thin paper Dimensions: Height: 97 millimetres (trimmed), Width: 71 millimetres Inscriptions: Lettered in top left corner: "Rembrandt f. / 1632". Print made by: Rembrandt (Follower of) Date: 1650-1750 (c.) Curator's comments: Possibly a later pas

Description: Portrait of a Native American woman, half-length directed to right, wearing feather headdress and holding a quiver with arrows
Etching on thin paper
Inscriptions: Lettered in top left corner: “Rembrandt f. / 1632”.
Print made by: Rembrandt (Follower of)
Date: 1650-1750 (c.) 

as this etching is in a collection in the British Museum.

He may have walked past this Ashinaabe outfit collected by Lieutenant Andrew Foster during his military service in North America circa 1780, also in the British Museum.

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However even if J. M. Barrie was not patrolling the Native American collection at The British Museum in the name of researching a character called Tiger Lily, there were dozens of images of young Native American women around, because there was this lovely invention called photography – so let’s see if The Fairy Princess can find images of NA Women from say, the 1800’s and up, upon who he could base images of his ‘Tiger Lily’ –

Portrait of Marcia Pascal, a young Cherokee Woman, taken 1880 (Collected by the Bureau of American Ethnology)

Portrait of Marcia Pascal, a young Cherokee Woman, taken 1880 (Collected by the Bureau of American Ethnology)

Isabelle Perico Enjady, a Jicarilla Apache Girl

Isabelle Perico Enjady, a Jicarilla Apache Girl

Portrait of Hattie Tom, Chiricahua Apache, in 1899 by F.A. Rhinehart

Portrait of Hattie Tom, Chiricahua Apache, in 1899 by F.A. Rhinehart

Ah, so there were images of young Native American women on whom J.M. Barrie could have based the character of Tiger Lily floating around. Now, in 1904 – it would have been HIGHLY unlikely that J.M. Barrie or anyone else was looking to cast for ‘authenticity’ when casting Tiger Lilly, but here is the interesting thing, when they made the 1924 film of Peter Pan, they cast Anna May Wong as Tiger Lilly.

Anna May Wong in the 1924 film, Peter Pan

Anna May Wong in the 1924 film, Peter Pan

As most people know now, it is believed that an land bridge  of some kind existed, and that people crossed over from Asia into what is now known as North America.

DNA Migration Pattern detailing the now widely accepted 'Land Bridge" theory of migration, which indicates that 'the ancestors of the First Americans came from an East Asian Homeland"

DNA Migration Pattern detailing the now widely accepted ‘Land Bridge” theory of migration, which indicates that ‘the ancestors of the First Americans came from an East Asian Homeland”

Ah, science says that Asian peoples and Native American peoples share some DNA, and are somewhat, super distantly, related! This is not a stretch to believe, after all, we have some shared traits in eye shape and hair, the difference in skin tones would have been because of growing up in different climates and exposures.

Anna May Wong was Chinese American, and our first Asian American film goddess.

Wasn't she gorgeous?

Wasn’t she gorgeous?

Which means that the casting of Anna May Wong as Tiger Lily in 1924 was much closer to the mark than the casting of Rooney Mara in 2014!

Before she had a Dragon Tatoo...

Before she had a Dragon Tattoo…

No one denies that Rooney Mara is a talented actress, or that she is fully capable of investing into a role. But while it is perfectly fine for an actress to dye her hair, or lose weight, or gain weight to play a part, or allow herself to wrinkle, or present herself as a total mess in the film, but totally glamorous on the red carpet promoting the film – in 2014, this casting strikes a bad note. The mildest description would be ‘insensitive’.

Or you could read this article on The Huffington Post, they have a few words for it.

Now, on the off-chance that Ms. Mara was going to claim some percentage of Native American heritage, a la Johnny Depp, in order to divert attention from the fact that in today’s world, this casting is in poor taste, I looked her up. Her Dad’s Family owns the New York Giants football team and they hail from County Down in Ireland. Her Mother’s Family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they are Irish and Italian.

My Father, who was 100 per cent Irish American, was a lawyer. His people were from Kerry. He passed away in 2012.

The One and Only, Himself

The One and Only, Himself

In the course of his practice, he represented two Native American tribes who were fighting for State and Federal recognition. My Dad did not get paid as the tribes did not have the money to hire an attorney such as himself, because they had all sorts of internal issues.

When I asked him once about why he chose to do this – because it was hours and hours on the phone talking to the Chiefs, and so on, he told me that America could never make up to the Native Americans for all the crimes that were done to them. He told me that America had been very good to the Irish people, that they had done very well in this country, and that Irish people and Native Americans should stick together – because the English had treated the Irish almost as badly as the Americans had treated the Native Americans – almost.

It struck me, as I was reading about Rooney Mara’s casting that my Father, who was made “Tribal Judge’ for one of the tribes, would not approve of the casting of an Irish American, whose family had done particularly well in America, to be portraying a Native American.

Even if it is a mythical tribe in Neverland, which is based on an idea, but which does not truly exist. The Piccaninnys may not exist, but they are based on people who do.

Native_American_map[1]

But you know – no Actress casts herself, she is offered the part. So while we can question Ms. Mara’s decision to accept it, it’s perfectly within her rights to do so.

I have read some quotes from the director that this is a ‘re-imagining‘ and it is going to be a multi-cultural cast but I will say this again – and again, and again, and I will keep saying it until people who are trying to justify their insensitive casting decisions get it:

Multi-racial is not an excuse for when you want to culturally ‘skin’ a minority & wear us like a coat

Multi-cultural is not supposed to take away from people whose representation is already marginalized.

Multi-cultural is not supposed to be a buzz word defense for being ‘called’ on casting choices that amount to appropriation.

Also, as The Fairy Princess looks to see who has been announced as the Cast of this film – Rooney Mara, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund – she does not see a lot of ‘diversity’.

Maybe she’s being silly. Maybe Director Joe Wright is one of those guys who claims he ‘doesn’t see color’ –

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Here’s the thing, Joe – may I call you Joe?

If you don’t see color,  how do you drive?

Ten smacks of the wand to Director Joe Wright – because you could have helped move everyone forward, and you chose not to. It’s not a ‘creative’ decision you made there, Joe – may I call you Joe? It is a decision steeped in a  ‘world view’ that does not view the world at all.

You could have done a remarkable thing and cast the first Native American as Tiger Lily on screen since, ummm, well, EVER!
(Apologies to Anna May Wong). But YOU chose not to, and that makes The Fairy Princess’s wings do a ‘sad flap’- because once again, the white guy refuses to ‘see’ people of color.

Which means that as in days past, the White Man is trying to erase Native Americans from the cultural landscape.

Man, The Fairy Princess just hates when people do not ‘get it’! You would think people were tired of being stupid and lazy, but apparently not. Frightening.

I guess, Mr. Wright, you can join the ever growing list of cultural arbiters with little progressive vision and…

Kiss My Fan, Tan Fannie!

The Fairy Princess actually thought she was going to have a good day….after all, one of her old bosses is up to be an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Award winner today, and she has EVERYTHING crossed for Kristen Anderson Lopez and Bobby Lopez to win for Best Song – LET IT GO, from the film, FROZEN

Bobby Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Bobby Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez

The Pasadena Playhouse has announced that under the direction of new Associate Artistic Director, Seema Sueko, they are going to produce a workshop of playwright, Philip C. Chung’s play, COME DOWN IN TIME, as part of their Hothouse series. They will co-produce with East West Players, and it will take place on March 20 & 21, 2014 at  8:00 PM at The Vault, 60 Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.

The HOTHOUSE Series is designed to highlight and develop plays that ‘authentically align with the Playhouse’s commitment to Diversity’ and will be focusing on playwrights whose representation in American theater are traditionally under-represented.

The Fairy Princess has known Philip C. Chung for a long time, and she is absolutely thrilled that his work is getting the recognition by two venerable Los Angeles Arts Institutions. Philip has been working on his You Offend Me, You Offend My Family Website and it’s accompanying YouTube Channel, as well as his career as a screenwriter, but I knew that he missed writing for theater.

So there you have it – a hit! A palpable hit!

And…as good news comes in threes – she found out that Philip Anthony Rodriguez is going to have a cool story arc on the NBC Show, GRIMM! He’s going to be a Henchman for the Royals!

New Royal Henchman on GRIMM

New Royal Henchman on GRIMM

Three good things in the past few days!  Thus the Fairy Princess was unprepared for her emails this morning about…well, for a moment let’s go back…remember this guy?

Gregory Doran, Artistic Director RSC aka The Great Conqueror

Gregory Doran, Artistic Director RSC
aka The Great Conqueror

He was the chappie who brought us that production of The Orphan of Zhao, which was the oldest play from China, about a Chinese subject, and has been called The Chinese “Hamlet’, and he did THIS to it –

The Orphan of Zhao...by way of Exeter.

The Orphan of Zhao…by way of
Exeter.

All coming back to you? Sounding familiar? The Fairy Princess gave him a bit of a trouncing in her blog, and the past year has been fairly quiet on the Western Imperial Front from RSC. In fact, the British East Asians celebrated/… the year anniversary of that controversial show, and we were kind of thinking everyone had learned their lesson.

Because it is damn tiring to have to keep teaching it.

The White Privilege in that rock is REALLY heavy

And honestly, isn’t everyone tired of reading it yet?

Well, they have not gotten the message at The Wooster Group yet, and THAT is lying heavy on the head that wears my tiara. The Fairy Princess has long been an admirer of The Wooster Group, and in general, she believes that they are a fairly sensitive, arty crowd, who do their utmost with their liberal political underpinnings to do groundbreaking work. After all they were founded by Spaulding Gray!

He's got stories, right here in New York City

He’s got stories, right here in New York City

Or that is what she thought they did.

Then, they decided to team up with the RSC for a production of Troilus & Cressida, and examine, how did they put it? I’d better just pull the quote:


CRY, TROJANS! originated as a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company of Troilus and Cressida at the World Shakespeare Festival in conjunction with the London 2012 Olympics. In that collaboration, the two companies took opposite sides in the Trojan War: the Wooster Group staged the Trojan scenes while the RSC staged the Greek ones. Scenes with both Greeks and Trojans were staged by both, each side developing its own version. The companies worked separately and without consultation until they met a few weeks before performances to sew the two halves of the show together. The seam was intentionally left rough so that the contrast of artistic approaches remained a foreground feature of the production, accenting the face-off of warring cultures in the play.

Seeking a decidedly American angle from which to encounter the RSC and the language of Shakespeare, the Wooster Group reimagined the Trojans as a pastiche fictional tribe of early Americans struggling to assert its dignity as doom closes in.

Following the special engagement with the RSC, the Wooster Group returned to New York and converted the collaboration into an independent piece. The spirit of the absent collaborator/enemy still manifests in various ways, but CRY, TROJANS! concentrates on the Trojan side of the story: the corruption of sincere love and the downfall of a noble hero.”


Ah yes they are going to examine ‘the corruption of sincere love and the downfall of a noble hero”.

Yet it winds up seeming to The Fairy Princess to be a corruption of Culture exchange and the downfall of  Compassion. It seems odd that in the spirit of the Olympics, which is supposed to be all nations coming together and sharing and learning, the Wooster Group has fallen back artistically – perhaps with encouragement from RSC, perhaps on their own. Who knows how they came up with their concept, but it allowed the British to remain Caucasian and the Americans to don ‘war paint’ and ape the Native American experience – with no Native Americans seemingly visible on stage or in the artistic planning.

This is the issue – and it’s long enough that we actually have a subscription, but here it goes – Native Americans are not a pastiche to be bandied about with when you think you have run out of ideas as to how to play cultures at war with one another.

Does this look ‘right’ to anyone?

Photo by Paula Court from CRY TROJANS!

Photo by Paula Court from CRY TROJANS!

Probably to Gregory Doran, because, after all, he pulled one of these:

Still from RSC's Orphan of Zhao

Still from RSC’s Orphan of Zhao

Well, I guess he told The Wooster Group to bang a gong and get it on, because….

Photo by Steven Gunther

Photo by Steven Gunther

I mean, SERIOUSLY?

I had to learn about this on Oscar Sunday? Hmmmm why does Oscar Night and Native Americans seem so aligned in my head already? There must be a reason….

Oh right, who stuck up for Native Americans once upon a time on Oscar Sunday?

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando

He was awarded an Oscar, but instead, he sent this message:

Now, tis true, that perhaps The Brits do not ‘get’ the long, bloody and shameful history that America has with it’s Native Peoples – although WHY they would not, I have no idea, as they set the ball in motionbut Americans know. Though Americans are not taught the history of most minority groups in their classrooms, they are taught of our shocking and bloody, full scale war upon the Native Americans. We are. Every one of us.

Not to mention dozens of other ways we decimated Native American tribes – blankets from people who died of smallpox, anyone? Putting them in camps? Creating and then taking back Reservations?

Bury your heart at Wounded Knee?

General rape and pillage for absolutely no reason at all except a desire to push West?

genocide1-598x600

Yep, those were covered in our classrooms.

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But if one needs to catch up, one merely needs to go on the world wide interweb and do a search on American Genocide and you can find THIS documentary which I first saw at a film festival many years ago:

We also know that Native Americans are not one peoples – there are 566 listed Federally Recognized Tribes in America!

566!

Native_American_map[1]

That is not a ‘pastiche’!

What is a pastiche? Technically? It’s a pie filling.

apple-pie-ay-1932517-l

It is from the Italian word pasticcio, which is pie filling mixed from diverse ingredients. It is also an piece of work that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more artists. It is not a parody – which mocks others.

Imitation or Parody?

Imitation or Parody?

The Fairy Princess is very, very sad about this new production from The Wooster Group – and she is even sadder that they are running it again in Los Angeles at REDCAT – without RSC.

How, in the City of Los Angeles, the City of Angels, where we have been swimming in Diversity panels like they are pools in a Beverly Hills mansion, could they have invited THIS production to perform in LA? Did no one say “Hey wait a minute, we are under fire here for bad casting decisions in the past which highlight our apathy and cultural insensitivity, so perhaps we should not invite a production where all the Native Americans are being portrayed by Caucasians?

Ya Think?

As a country, we cannot – can not – apologize to certain groups ENOUGH for what we, as a country, have done to their people. We all know who those groups are – African Americans, Native Americans, Japanese Americans.

Unless The Wooster Group is comfortable doing this:

Yeah, remember when people thought THIS was ok? (TOTALLY NOT OK!)

Yeah, remember when people thought THIS was ok? (TOTALLY NOT OK!)

Then they should NOT be doing this:

Still from the Production they did with RSC

Still from the Production they did with RSC

Because IT. IS. THE. SAME. THING! Get it? GET IT?

If you are so artistically bankrupt that you need to go and paint your actors because you cannot come up with a new concept for a Shakespearean drama – then quit. Seriously. Time to go. You cannot think of anything better than Rome-pan or Rome-many Nations – you are done.

Not because the concepts do not work – but because you are letting down your concept.

You cannot continue to mine the cultures of other peoples and then refuse to cast people that represent that culture. If you want to make a statement about Native Americans and your support of them and their journey in a Shakespearean way – go ahead – BUT CAST NATIVE AMERICANS!

I spy with my little eye...

I spy with my little eye…

If you want to set a show in a Rome that has been conquered by Japan, then you better have some Asian American faces in that cast. If you try to find members of that group and insist that you just cannot or that you have not found talent that you are excited to work with… change the concept. Set it in Norway, set it in France, set it in Russia, set it in Ukraine, set it in South Africa, set it in New Zealand, set it in Australia, set it in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, there are lots and lots of places one can possibly set a Shakespearean play where the actors will not have to actually paint themselves. (Unless you want them to paint Celtic Blue – because you know, the Celtic Warriors did actually paint themselves for battle – and there you go – one interesting concept, go ahead and take it)

celtic-warrior-ben-5

Why? Why? Because you, the Director, look more intelligent. Because you, the Director, look more educated. Because you, the Director will then look like you know more about the world – both the one you are trying to create and the one we all live in.

Now, there have already been reviews of this production – and one of my favorites was reading that this production is “Wooster-lite“. The reviewer did not feel this play lived up to the reputation of The Wooster Group.  Which means what? Here is a quote: The result is an uncharacteristically tame production, one that left me time to ponder the awkward politics of an overwhelmingly white ensemble horsing around with cultural caricatures of race.”

It means that it is no longer acceptable to critics, or to audience members, or to the theater community to continue to insist that Caucasian actors can paint or clothe themselves to portray other ethnicities. You know that when theater critics start talking about the the casting versus the concept, as opposed to the casting working with the concept that this is a problem.

The argument for Diversity is ongoing, and it is uphill, even with Critics like Wendy Rosenfeld speaking up.

The thing that gets to The Fairy Princess, is the theater establishments resistance to using full mental capacity to notice that the world has changed, is changing, will continue to change. The reason that The Wooster Group’s production is so shocking is that they were considered the cultural elitists in New York City for a very long time – melding acting, concept, technology, and new ideas.

And now, I guess I would consider them…well…behind.

I actually consider them a Horse's...er...zebra's behind!

I actually consider them a Horse’s…er…zebra’s behind!

Far, far behind – behind The Pasadena Playhouse, behind East West Players, behind NY’s Public Theater, and part of me thinks “my goodness, how very sad that is.” It is like seeing Dorian Gray’s portrait hidden in the attic when you have been having a delightful sherry with him in the parlor all evening.

So 10 smacks of the wand to The Wooster Group – you went to London to share, and you came back with the worst kind of Imperialism running rampant in your production. What, precisely did you ‘learn’? How to totally ignore what you know to be right, and walk all over the culture of Peoples of Color – well, you seem to be an excellent student.

Next time they ask you to do something like that, just say

tumblr_m52l0eyEQG1rqnccjo1_400

Even if you think they are the totally fancy, culturally elite, Royal Shakespeare Company and you want them to be impressed by you.

Just remember, they did this:

Yes, a Princess of China for sure

Yes, a Princess of China for sure

Because once you put a production out there….

Werd!

Werd!

Here in the States we are quickly approaching Thanksgiving – which is when we are all supposed to look at relatives and friends at a giant table, before gorging ourselves silly, and say what we are thankful for. It could be…well, anything.

You could be grateful that you hosted this year, and thus avoided hours and hours of insane traffic. You could be grateful that you got all A’s this semester. You could be grateful that you look ten years younger than your old boyfriend who by interesting co-inky-dink has shown up to be seated directly across from you, which does not bother you in the slightest because you are blissfully happy in a stable relationship with a killer job AND a cute little non-yappy dog who wears holiday gear on his head with no problem.

Howdy, Pilgrim

The Fairy Princess has been to a lovely party this evening where she caught up with friends old and new…and she has decided to make a grateful list. Partially because when you have been feeling under siege for an extended amount of time, it is hard to see what good things are happening. However, good things ARE happening and I wanted to just take a moment and red-necked-nize, as Honey Boo Boo would say.

(Look at me, I’m all “Anne of Green Gables” with my ‘glad list’.)

I loved these books as a kid,
Anne of Green Gables by
LM Montgomery

1. I am grateful that my post about La Jolla Playhouse’s production of The Nightingale brought attention to Casting Discrimination in American Theater. (That is self-congratulatory, but one is not going to kill you – just go with it)

You know we are p.o’d when
you get graphics!

2. I am thankful that La Jolla Playhouse hosted a talk back with it’s Creative Team. This is the first time that the Asian American Acting Community has had the opportunity to have dialogue on this issue. Could it have been more…ya know…more? Well sure, of course. But the message was heard, and in their next two shows, there were Asian Americans in lead roles.

Cindy Cheung & Christine Toy Johnson
at La Jolla’s talkback…they look so pissed off
I feel like I need to go practice piano & bring home an A
TIGER ACTRESSES!
RRROOOOWWRRR

3. I am thankful that the Royal Shakespeare Company and Artistic Director Gregory Doran perpetrated a cultural theft upon China – because otherwise how would the dialogue that opened up Internationally, between the American and UK Asian Artistic communities have occurred? Do I think that Gregory Doran handled his criticisms poorly? Ummmm, let me think, give me a minute, oh wait – YEP. YEP I DO.

The Orphan of Zhao…by way of
Exeter.

(Has that guy apologized yet? Cuz, I mean, I WROTE IT FOR HIM)

4. I am thankful that for the first time, there will be a talk held by British Equity on the issue of Casting East Asians in theater and television on the British stage.

Good thing British Equity is going
to look for the East Asians…because
apparently they have been misplaced

5. I am thankful that East West Players, the longest established Asian American theater company, and the oldest ethnic theater company in America, hosted a Forum on representation. They did not have to, but they did.

6. I am thankful that the LA Stage Alliance helped East West Players put that forum together, and that it was on the web, and I could see it in New York, as I was unable to attend.

7. I am grateful my six month old has cut one tooth.

Here he is a the CAPE Poker Fundraiser
with DWTS Carrie Ann Inaba and H5o’s
Ian Anthony Dale – This kid is a playah

8. I am thankful that shows like GRIMM, GREY’S ANATOMY, HAWAII 5.0, DWTS, NIKITA, GLEE, THE MINDY PROJECT, HOUSE M.D., ELEMENTARY, WALKING DEAD, THE MENTALIST, GO ON, COMMUNITY, DROP DEAD DIVA, ROYAL PAINS, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, and SULLIVAN & SON have Series Regulars that are APIs.

(I am probably missing some, for which I apologize, the Fairy Princess only has 1 set of eyes to go with 1 set of wings)

9. I am thankful that there have been recurring roles for APIs on ONCE UPON A TIME, NYC 22, SCANDAL, PRIVATE PRACTICE, just to name a few.

(Hey Show Runners, wanna bump up those folks and make them regulars? How hard could it be?)

10. I am thankful that my Family made it through Hurricane Sandy.

11. I am thankful that there are shows being written like ALLEGIANCE, which set box office records for The Old Globe Theater in San Diego, proving that Asian Americans on stage, telling their stories, can be moving and universal.

12. I am thankful that the one of the things I make really well – is one that is welcomed during this holiday season, no matter where I go. (Irish Soda Bread is not for all occasions)

Crumb topping…YUM!

Have a Great Thanksgiving no matter where you are – and if someone tells you to ‘kow tow’ or to shuffle your feet, or
to ‘do it again with an accent’ and you don’t feel like doing it – tell ’em the Fairy Princess says to –

KISS YOUR FAN TAN FANNIE!