Friday, 9 November 2012

The Orphan of Zhao play

 The Orphan of Zhao at the RSC

From the Guardian:
'This production of a Chinese classic has already caused controversy because only three actors out of a cast of 17 are of east Asian origin. But, although there are serious issues about the plight of east Asian actors that need to be addressed, it would be sad if that obscured the fact that this is a stunning act of theatrical reclamation. Gregory Doran, as the new head of the RSC, has unearthed a drama of which most of us were unaware and given it a superlative production.'

orphan of zao
 Graham Turner (Dr Cheng Ying) and Jake Fairbrother (Cheng Bo) in The Orphan Of Zhao. 
Photograph: Tristram Kenton

            

38 comments:

  1. However did we miss this

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2012/oct/30/orphan-of-zhao-rsc
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2012/oct/19/royal-shakespeare-company-asian-actors
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/22/royal-shakespeare-company-east-asians

    Basically, the RSC have a Chinese play - The Orphan of Zhao - on show. Chinese actors on show? Of course not. What is interesting are the responses... read the comments on the last article


    =======

    "it's hardly the same asking for affirmative action for east-asians, aside from Hong Kong we never really colonised your end of the world. Sorry about the Opium wars and that, but it wasn't like you were part of the Empire and had your indigenous culture co-opted, over-written and generally booted about by us palefaces, so we don't feel the same guilt and need to make things up to you these days.

    People from the subcontinent, the West Indies and Africa, well, there we've got a lot more to answer for so we do have to make a special effort."

    ===========

    And if there's 500,000 of you, that's less than 1% of the population. You named two and acknowledged that there are others (isn't that Grow Your Own Drugs guy Chinese, too?) ... can you name 300 other TV personalities? I don't think it's that unrepresentative.

    =========
    You mean the episode about a smuggling ring operating out of Hong Kong shouldn't have had any Chinese bad guys? Perhaps I'm being unfair, but I suspect if the smuggling ring had been operated entirely by white ex-pats, you'd complain that the BBC believed that Chinese people weren't clever enough to operate such a sophisticated operation.

    ===========


    So basically, white male arseholes with their superiority complex - in the last one making excuses for us being portrayed as bad guys, but heaven forbid casting us in a positive role. The 2nd point.... so its basically a numbers game then. So he is suggesting that the muslims and blacks have got it right - breed like rabbits, get higher numbers and then they'll take us seriously.

    And the first one.... has confirmed my suspicions and what others on here have said. Whites are more racist towards us because "we haven't been colonised".... so they make a "special effort" towards blacks... how condescending towards blacks!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous 08/11/12:03:27, the article was covered on another topic here, and yes the comments you've posted have probably been okayed or moderated. It shows the arrogance and ignorance of some extreme individuals that troll endless news articles to grind their axes. It's clear that when the Chinese speak up we are not taken seriously but just big babies. This endless belittling is common-ground and as shown on the first comment, it's because we are not one of Britain's former colonies that both media and the sheep that follow the media. SF.

      Delete
    2. So just how do we start to change this attitude of white British (and no doubt American) people? I am tired of the double standards re: racism. We get the most racial abuse, and at the same time we give the least (i.e. none) out. We are getting the worst of both worlds (not saying we ourselves should be racist, but you look at every other group - they have better protection re: racism, yet at the same time are racist in obvious ways themselves)...this ties in well with the lack of resistance/retaliation theory mentioned in an earlier ocmment.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous8 November 2012 22:27 IMO its not just the uncolonised aspect its also that when it comes to what we are good at, making money comes on top of the list and thats the way its been set up, ie we get to make money and tolerate piss taken out of us.

      But as a group realistically we should be assertive, at very least. But for that to happen you need to convince the majority of BBCs. Us lot on here are bothered, its the British Chinese Online forum, and Northern Facebookers you should spteak to. Get an ID on there and start preaching, see what result you get, BBCz and I tried it earlier days of the blog and got serious flack from our 'target audience' just for stating the obvious. Things have changed since then but not as much as it ought to.

      They will just stick in their groups either discussing electricity bills or kpop. But this open blog, aside from being a community news place is the only place I know where FOBS and BBC can fight back /speak out against media Sinophobia.

      Delete
  2. Read this guys, Anna Chen on the offensive in The Guardian about the scarcity of East Asians in Royal Shakespeare Companys production of the Orphan of Zhao.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/22/royal-shakespeare-company-east-asians

    Read the comments below the article, you will see that not a single white person has an ounce of sympathy for her arguments. None of them consider it racist to not cast East Asians. Interestingly and ironically the stage production is targeted at an nouveau riche Mainland Chinese audience, so the mainland Chinese are in effect the cause of the discrimination. It reminds me of the mainland Chinese only wanting to pay for white teachers to teach English, they probably also want to pay for white people to perform bourgeois Shakespeare etc. Even more ironic is that Anna Chen is pro-CCP.

    The lesson is dont blindly support China or the CCP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That its targeted at the CCP or rich Chinese audience, Id like to read their comments first before I make any judgement, and there doesnt seem to be. Just because its targeted at them, doesn't make mainlanders the cause of the discrimination, unless it's funded by them.

      To me it just looks like RSC trying to grab mainland money, period. Whether it succeeds or not remains to be seen.

      Delete
    2. CCP created the nouveau riche. Dont be so f**king naive. Heres your Wen Jiabao with Jeremy Hunt orgasming over Shakespeare during his tour of UK last year.

      http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2011/06/27/more-matter-less-art-wen%E2%80%99s-love-for-shakespeare/

      You and SF and Anna chen really need to drop your fanboy/girl obsession with China and CCP.

      And heres your Wen Jiaobao getting excited over Jeremy Hunts chinese wifes Eurasian son. An economic and reproductive union of white brits and Chinese for trade and pleasure.
      http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-06/27/content_12780036.html

      Get it through your head. China and the CCP don't give a f**k about BBC issues. China doesnt trade with BBCs, they trade with white businesses.

      Delete
    3. Your second link 'page doesnt exist' , at least I couldnt find it.

      For me, personally, Its China's people, the mainlander students Ive interacted with, and made friends with. The government I know far from perfect, and theres loads of corruption, but then should BBCs support CCP or the monarchy?

      And yes I know China dont care about BBC issues, I never said they did. Also, whilst there are issues of interacial etc, and people scratching their head over China's decisions, of course China's going to trade with white businesses, because thats who owns the companies in the UK. Business is business, thats what they do. And from what I've seen China's doing a lot of the buyouts, and this is how they will gain the edge - economic power.

      I dont agree with his obsession with shakespeare, but like I said, Im not judging an entire country of people based on one man's love for shakespeare and eurasian children.

      Delete
    4. And yes we know about the nouveau rich's obsession with hi-class white culture

      http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/chinese-classical-music.html

      But re China politics, from the little I know, are a complicated thing, Its not that cut and dried.

      Also with more mainlander students visiting, one gets run over by a police car, another gets raped by a drunk English male, another british male rapes a Beijing girl in China, I agree we should try and keep BBC issues local, but discussing issues that overlap with China and China's people is inevitable

      Delete
  3. Anna Chen she is a weird one, her self-mocking chinese irony doesn't work either, only she and her cronies find it funny, like her off the cuff Vietnam jokes aimed at an ignorant "white" audience. Its nearly always really about her PR that's the subtext, any mention of BBCs issues? and Why?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've noticed her doing her self promoting posting on the BBC facebook board, not sure she will get any interest from those lamoids.

    Also noticed the British Eurasian actor troupe are doing their own thing, ie theater protesting not accepting 'racist' jobs or castings anyway that's their business.

    We should just try and focus on ethnic Chinese issues that matter to us, IMO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their agenda is to be taken seriously as shakespeare actors once they get the job thats all they care about, it will never happen uz they loadof crap in the first place . Missing ch~ink, yellowface, elvis ah ha ah bollocks crap humour etc tell any BBCs find that so witty or funny?
      Its degrading chinese identity by lowering themselves to be accepted, I don't buy it that is meant to be intellectually sooo ironic. It s actually servile self degradation and public humiliation, If white people accept chinese then they will change tact in an instant. Boooo them off stage, we don't these traitors.

      Delete
    2. LOL exactly theyre a load of crap in the first place so we dont have much to worry about.

      http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/hapas-fobs-and-agenda-to-socially.html

      But in since then with China, DM, bad education, and all the other Sinophobic bollocks IMO theres a lot more now for us to protest in addition to the BEA 'Dimsum Nights' bollocks

      Delete
    3. I just read the Guardian blog and the RCA discussions, guess what, your best friend DY auditioned for the part and didn't get it, he and his cronies are having mega gripes about RCA alleged lack of Chinese representation, even when they were given the chance to audition their talent, or lack of...oh lets not start again.
      At the end of the day they are just find it hard to accept they are just a bunch talentless crap actors, clinging on to the I-am-so oppressed "Chinese" critique (which valid when real), even though they are not fully Chinese themselves or active supporters of Chinese interests outside their closed no-one-sees fringe bollocks theatre.

      That Anna Chen Yellowface act what a load of disgraceful rubbish that is, she should try takin the mick of her other genetic 50% makeup, and see if white people appreciate the irony.
      Is it no wonder most Chinese won't support her, not only because of her crass vaudevillian antics, she can't rid off, even the way she speaks, you can see the acting in the acting, embarrassing bad actress.


      Exactly, Boooooo them off stage.

      Delete
    4. Haha Eurasians doing 'white-face vaudeville'. Probably be twice as unintentionally hilarious what with the limitless pool of bad acting to draw upon.

      Delete
    5. Well, whilst others may not know, WE know that Daniel York is heavily biased towards the rights of Eurasians over ethnic Chinese.

      In the old comments of this blog somewhere, he implied that Eurasians are super talented, the reason they dont get the parts is because of discrimination,.....whereas if ethnic Chinese dont get the parts its not because of discrimination, its because they dont have the talent. Thats his biased self-serving Eurasian logic.

      Any Chinese person must be insane if they think Eurasians like Daniel York are going to represent ethnic Chinese interests, or pro-CCP goons like Anna Chen, who is primarily a mouthpiece for the CCP.

      Going back to the Shakespeare issue, as a Chinese, I have absolutely no interest in Shakespeare whatsoever, never have, and never will. To me reading Shakespeare is the same as reading Latin, its for wannabe bourgeois twits looking to be accepted into the British White establishment (which I have absolutely no interest in joining, I will bitterly disappointed if I have ethnic chinese children and one day they say to me, I dont want to learn Chinese, I want to learn latin, study at oxbridge and read shakespeare), unfortunately, establishment doors appear to be closed on BEA's.

      Delete
    6. Shakespeare is pure elitism in motion and, like dogs, the most 'appropriate' way to show British Chinese have succumbed to British 'acceptance' as I tried to point out here:

      http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/british-chinese-theatre.html

      As you can read in that article and the pic on there of the sad-case lineup of FOB/BBC thespian wannabes, the attitude is along the lines of:

      'Oh look give the British Chinese a voice with our thespian encouragement '. and show that we are allowing them to be 'equal'

      Toss a dog-biscuit to see how your well-behaved oriental pet reacts, why dont you?

      Imperialist cunts.

      Delete
  5. BBCZeitgeist, do you not think that you are confusing the fact that CCP represents the whole of China? Would you like Tony Blair to represent you, and would you like it if others blindly put that tag on you? Are you not doing exactly the same thing you accuse others of doing to BBCs? If you subscribe to that, then you are no different to the people you slate regularly.

    Regarding the white worshipping in China. I can post from a BBC point of view with my western upbringing and education. But is it all of the Chinese people's fault that western media is so powerful it has the ability to control a large portion of Chinese people?

    We are part of history, and the conditioning has immense consequence for posibly a whole nation. I believe, you are attacking the wrong people. It's easy for you to say what you say from your position, and you expect every single Chinese national to have your mindset, or they don't deserve your respect, that is a closed mind. SF.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Try asking yourself that question. Your article uses a photo of Hujintao under the heading 'china success,' obviously implying the actions of the centrailsed one party state through its leaders is responsible for the success of China.

    Where did I refer to the whole of China? I'm talking about the nouveau riche who want to see white performers perform Shakespeare, these are the same sorts who want to send their kids to the west to be educated by the white man, the same people who hire white teachers to tutor them English, the same people who hire western education consultants which is exactly what the senior members of the CCP do.

    Its unfortunate, you guys are too overwhelmed by a motive to blindly defend China, blindly defend the CCP, blindly defend the actions of mainlanders.

    Anna Chen is the same, shes primarily pro-CCP, not pro-Chinese. Her father worked for the Chinese Embassy. I dont think ive ever seen her write an article criticising china or the CCP, every article she writes is a defence of the CCP/China, their policies, their actions or their outcomes.

    Another example is my article on Britishness and the Olympics, if you read the comments, you guys hardly posted any comments discussing Britishness, instead what did you guys discuss? Blindly defending a china national swimmer on doping allegations. How do you know shes innocent? Youre just blindly defending her just because Shes a China national. you guys are no different to Anna Chen, she published an article defending the Chinese national swimmer in The Guardian. Thinking critically, don't become a pathetic fanboy/fangirl mouth piece for the CCP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear what you are saying and CCP are no angels that is for sure but I think you are overestimating the amount of CCPs who are white grovellers.

      I think it's more the ugly betties brigade, you know the middle aged ugly Chinese women who are completely jealous of the TVB starlets. These old cows, have quite obviously infiltrated the key industries of China, notably media.

      For eg) have you seen that one woman on CCTV with the short hair and the huge head - she looks like an alien and obviously very frustrated about it and for this she is taking it out on the entire Chinese population by promoting white grovelling.

      She may well qualify for what some people here call Coward.

      So among her cohort, this is the stereotype but I am not so sure the whole of the CCP is the same.

      After all what incentive do they have ? What can the Jews offer them ? Money ? nope got all they want. Power, nope they got 1.3 B people under them. Women ? definitely not.

      So I'm not so sure they are all white grovellers, also it depends where you go. For eg) in HK, we all know Lan Kawi Fong is infamous but who goes there ? Most of the Asian women are Pinays, Singaporeans, and only the yuppie HKers.

      Go just 10 miles or so to mongkok and it's whole different world. Completely and proudly Chinese w/o a whiff of gweiloh.

      Delete
  7. BBCZeitgeist, again, you want to read into what you want to read. If you see the many comments about the Chinese swimmer, we were comparing like with like. That means reporting fairly. I have never said she was innocent, and furthermore, I have not defended the communist party willy nilly. All I ask is for fairness in reporting and a strive for awareness on poor reporting. This does not make me a fanboy/girl for the party.

    My father's father was part of the Kuomingtang and fled filed as missing in Taiwan. If there's anything, I would have more reason to dispise the communist party.

    If you have read some of my original postings regarding the communist party, you will see that I disagree with the one-child policy, death penalty and go on to say that communism is a European idea, and the start of the communist era sparked the lust for all things west and the lost of all China's past. It's all here in this blog.

    I fear you are more sucked in with what is seen as Liberal and fashionable, that's why you attack people like Chen.
    As for the article title, I don't know why it says China Success, because that was not my original title for the discussion. The photo? You are just picking. I could have asked for a picture of a sky scraper, but I guess you are trying to make your point, badly.

    Do you take Chen's word when it suits you? On one hand you discard her comments, the next you are using her words to make a point about the Nouveal riche. It is her comments and not RSC's? SF.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I dont follow fashion, I attack everyone. China is fashionable right now, yet I'm telling you guys to stop focussing on China, thats not being fashionable is it? Thats being alternative. Thinking critically, researching, being creative and not following convention nor following the CCP nor stating the obvious is what makes this blog the most radical, most original, most politically incorrect British ethnic Chinese writing in the entire history of the British Chinese community, otherwise this blog will just become just another China/FOB website. As I said before, if China need defending, then let the FOBs defend it, I as BBC am not going to become an apologist for the CCP.

      Delete
    2. BBCZeitgeist, by all means, FOBs can defend China. My point is not about defending China, but creating an awareness for BBCs living here in the UK who assume they are nicely slotted into mainstream society when they are mistaken. We are not one of Britain's 'cases' so we will not be looked upon with pity, but as a threat.

      Is it so fashionable just to let fellow BBCs know that we are not regarded as an equal and not respected as a race? You inform us here on this topic, how the Chinese are only good as servants and animals, even though the play really should feature more Chinese actors. I agree. But as shown, the comments after the article shows, many believe Chen's comments are over the top. This means, whatever we protest, we are not taken seriously, and simply moaning too much. That is an example of the double-standards and people's ignorance on how racism works. SF.

      Delete
    3. SF, your views gave good counter debating, I am not trying to shoot you down b4 you get all excited, I think Anna Chen will have more credibility if she just drops her circus act when trying to represent "Chinese" representation and speak without "the performance" and admits her limitations. I don't have a problem with anyone who defends race inequality etc as long as where they are coming from is real and not a hidden agenda which to sell or direct audiences to their PR or self-interested productions. I also like parts of Shakespeare I can divorce the art from the supposed politics. Numerous films and serious fiction, i include HK and E. Asian, have plots lifted straight from shakes, but you need a bit of cultural knowledge to be aware of this.
      If music be the food of art, then play on, give me excess of it.

      Delete
  8. @SF Re: Shakespeare

    being outline of HK and east asian movies, I admit this is true, but in the UK their only interest is in how RSC only want ethnic representation when it suits the reinforcement of their dull imperialist institutions.

    Re Chen

    being self promoting, its not 'moaning' its fact.

    If BBC's wont speak out,Eurasian opinions will get published in the guardian, even in the name of bad acting boo-worthy self promoting career, including her defensive stance of the CCP.

    And as far as BBC actors speaking out against 'racism' again its only from the whitewashed ones who want to get accepted by aforementioned boring elitist institutions and throw a tantrum when they dont get that role they were hankering for

    http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/chinese-britons-have-put-up-with-racism.html

    There is no 'fairness' in a white-centric world, there is only reluctant inclusion, so until we create our own online media representation, everything else that currently exists endorsed by the mainstream only creates further misrepresentation for us.
    And in my book, that 'moaning' is justified.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happybritishchinese and Anonymous, I agree with your comments. I was not defending Chen, but explaining the situation where Chen was mentioned.

      As it happens, I also agree with your views that her stance on racism is not totally sincere. It's aimed for the white audience as a kind of protest to make herself seem more avante guard. If the RSC has some issues, she should consider that it opens up a can of worms where there are more issues elsewhere that is more pressing. She should use her status to push for further awareness on other issues such as sitcoms like Bad Education and the double standards seen with racism.

      Maybe moaning seemed like a trivial word, but I wrote those words to convey the tone of people's comments. Meaning, we are suddenly too sensitive therefore not really respecting our feelings and emotions. SF.

      Delete
    2. SF Chens 's anti-racism stance like these other desperate Eurasian will only ever be IMO a self-serving PR-stunt. She wont complain, for example, about Bad education Kae Alexander willingly taking a misrepresenting role, because she herself, like Chen is mixed race, just like she wont complain about the 'dragon lady' stereotype because she uses that same stereotype to sell her own lame acts, despite being a Eurasian.

      Also I suggest you educate yourself as to why their 'community' racism protests are in fact only ever self-promoting in nature :

      http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/hapas-fobs-and-agenda-to-socially.html

      Re :not respecting feelings and emotions, not sure what you mean. If i think Imperialists are cunts, I'll say it even if it can come across as self-pitying , generalized, or as 'oversensitive', I really don't care.

      Even letting pathetic american school-boy jew trolls or white-worshopping indians freely express themselves, that's the privilege of having an open blog,anything goes, just so long as those same agenda-driven trolls are willing to swallow a reciprocal measure of their own medicinal arrogance, in return.

      Delete
    3. I would even go as far as 'racism' being cried out by Eurasians actually demeans any protest that ethnic Chinese would make in claims of fairness. Was going to write that up as an article, but ive said it now, so thats that.

      If its any consulation to know, that other adopted Chinese luvvie performer, Lucy Sheen is promoting Miaows 'anti-racism' RSC article on the British Chinese forum. Not that I can imagine those lot are going to give a shit, but you can see, once again, when desperate actors speak out for racism, the subtext whether from Eurasians or whitelickers makes no difference.

      All dying to be part of the elitist institution that in turn wants money of whitelicking CCPs who in turn want to be seen to be more 'classy' by consuming imperialist culture and celebrating Eurasian children. Mad frenzy of cultural prostitution at its very finest.

      Delete
    4. Happybritishchinese, not much more to add to your comments there. You say it as it is, I use different words. But, don't shoot me because I refuse to be brash and blunt. I feel the same, but we express it differently.

      The white-licking CCPs you refer to is a growing problem in China. It's what I call the irony of communism. It's the individualists that wins in the end. When they climb to the top, they want to distance themselves from their past and heritage. Many have gained these lofty positions through corrupting those around them.

      The quest for the west is very deep-rooted. And it's class the Chinese want. They know that after money, they need to be more western in their tastes, or they'll assume the west will never accept them. It's very sad to see that these fools do not understand that they will never match the west because their face don't fit. SF.

      Delete
  9. Is there a Anna Chen forum or comments page (not under her editorial) where one can contest her actions and see if see want to engage with BBCs concerns?
    BBcs need to take Anna chen and her cronies on, by debate or countering her PR machine with the "truth". That hopefully would at least moderate her behaviour and question her motives. If we got her wrong that would come to the fore as well, if indeed it does. Either way it will expose where she actually stands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://madammiaow.blogspot.co.uk/ - but she moderates her comments supposedly

      http://www.annachen.co.uk/contact/

      Only other way is find one of her posts on the BBC facebook page, I think the last one was her promoting her band Steampunk opium, and contest her there. As you know on BBCFB most BBCs are apolitical and bubbletea sipping so dont expect any support.

      Delete
    2. Shes back on the fb page, if you got an account, time to question her

      http://clip2net.com/s/2r7

      Supporting Lucy Liu, that other Chinese American actress who only dates white guys, what else can you expect of a Eurasian haha

      Delete
  10. Heres a Eurasian reporter ( yes the only kind of British Chinese who gets employed by the independent) talking about the lack of British Chinese athletes at the olympics

    http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/08/06/the-british-chinese-community-and-the-uk-media/

    Worth reading maybe

    ReplyDelete
  11. On a side note, I've heard from a Shenzhen-living Chinese national that some waitering staff treat Chinese customers badly and treat white customers much better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just found this, the blogger is a the 4th son of a Shipping magnate in Shenzhen

      http://chinatrade247.com/2012/11/02/shenzhen-is-an-up-and-coming-chinese-exporting-city/

      'In recent years, this city has received over $30 Billion in foreign investment.'

      Maybe Shenzhen white-washing, is its Chinese way of expressing it's new booming economy. Funny the poorest countries of the world in the future in comparison to China may well be white-centric.

      BTW I just got deja vu thinking we may have had this conversation before when we clearly haven't. weird.

      Delete
  12. Re the actual review

    Graham Turner (Dr Cheng Ying) and Jake Fairbrother (Cheng Bo)

    Imagine if that read Hamlet played by Andy Lau or King Lear starring Chow Yun Fat, RSC would shit their imperialist pants. Final straw breaking the camels back officializing yellowface for the stage and then getting FOBS to pay for it. Nouveau rich FOBS who pay to see this crap are sp lame. Can imagine them clapping now ' how authentic those performances are- much better than the original!'

    I re-read Anna Chens article

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/22/royal-shakespeare-company-east-asians

    I dont like it that most columnnists for the guardian or independent that represent BC community are Eurasian, but
    the point she makes here is actually correct

    'One danger is that, the more a minority is presented as a blank canvas, the easier it is to project all sorts of rubbish on to it.'

    Blame apathetic FOBS, mercenary Eurasians, but its obviously Sinophobic British media blotting us out in the first place.

    Re the plays source material

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Orphan_of_Zhao

    The Orphan of Zhao was the first Chinese play to have been translated into any European language and also says The Orphan of Zhao was well-received throughout Europe with the vogue of chinoiserie at its height

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinoiserie

    In other words, 'orientalism'

    Also mentions that the play is political and has 'anti-Chinese government overtones about familial revenge, which could have something to do with the story being based around an 'orphan' ?

    Apart from the above reasons, cant figure out why the story succeeded so many interpretations in Europe. Imperialists would never popularize anything Chinese apart from the obvious yellowface antics, unless somehow they could twist the source material to fit their filthy Sinophobic agenda.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Happybritishchinese, this is clear to me. This play has entered the 'high' societies hence RSC picking it up for a play. But isn't it ironic how cinema films are far more popular and the "yellowface" headlines seems to grab the mainstream headlines like the recent Cloud Atlas film, and yet this little known adaptation escapes scrutiny due to it being 'high' society art and part of RSC, therefore it's not even making any kind of international headlines, and even getting praise from audiences and critics.

    But, I find this kind of play far more blatant and disrespectful for the Chinese. How often do we see see Charles Dickens' books being adapted with people of colour to play his characters?

    I remember when BBC used a mixed race actress to play Nancy from Oliver Twist, the outrage from the viewers. Newspapers debated and forums were filled with discussion. But when it's done to the Chinese, it's somehow legitimate. We should be somehow grateful that white people want to play orientals. The tone is, why are we even moaning. That's how far behind we are in terms of being able to talk back and have a voice. SF.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can recall two similar examples:
      a "chinese" Cinerella (there's a guardian blog) at the Lyric Hammersmith, and a Japanese Ballet dancer taking the lead in Swan Lake. Where the assumption was this aint "normal".

      Delete