CMU School of Drama

Thursday, July 31, 2014

It’s time to stop using “exoticism” as an excuse for opera’s racism

Quartz: For the last two weekends, 38 white amateur performers in Seattle cinched up their obis and daubed on facepaint to perform The Mikado—standard fare for an operetta set on the fictional Japanese island Titipu where characters are given ridiculous names like Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum.

1 comment:

Max Rose said...

As someone who is not quite as knowledgeable in terms of opera performances, I had no idea that this was going on. Dressing up to portray a different race is a risky move in any situation, but theatre makes it a bit more complicated due to the preference for good actors instead of those who necessarily “look the part.” This being said, if a cast wanted to perform “A Raisin in the Sun” in blackface, it would be all over the news. What people fail to realize is that this is going on with other races such as performances of “Mikado” as the article indicated. I can understand the desire for good actors, but at some point a director has to realize that he or she is really doing, and change it.