THOUGHTS: Ma-Yi Theater’s Chairs and a Long Table

Ron Domingo, Jeena Yi, Julienne Hanzelka Kim, Moses Villarama

Ron Domingo, Jeena Yi, Julienne Hanzelka Kim, Moses Villarama (Photo Credit: Web Begole)

How would you feel if you attended a play that included yellow face? Now imagine being an Asian actor constantly auditioning in New York City (struggling to come across casting calls that fit your type) and finding out that a major theater company went with white actors for the roles of the Emperor and Empress of China. Han Ong’s latest play Chairs and a Long Table addresses this very issue. As a part of the Ma-Yi Theater Company’s “Breaking the Myth” series, Ong’s new play is making it’s world premier in rep alongside  Carlos Celdron’s Livin’ La Vida Imelda at The Clurman Theater. Yellow face, black face, brown face, white washing characters that were written to be of color – these are all problems that are still going strong today, and the timing of this play could not be more appropriate.
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Recap: Beyond Puck-Performing Shakespeare in Asian America

Credit: Andy Yao

Credit: Andy Yao

Last Friday, we mentioned a panel discussion entitled, “Beyond Puck: Performing Shakespeare in Asian America.” The panel brought together a group of 7 Asian and Asian American Shakespearean actors on the set of Richard III at NYU Skirball. Led by Elena Chang and Soriya Chum of the Asian American Arts Alliance, the discussion began with the question, “Why Puck?”

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