“In Search of the Orphan” : intercultural theatre, multi-ethnic casting, and the representation of Chineseness on European and North American stages
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In May 2012, La Jolla Playhouse in the United States staged a musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's “The Nightingale”. Four months later, the Royal Shakespeare Company announced its upcoming production of a “new adaptation” of the late thirteenth-century Chinese play “The Orphan of Zhao”. Both plays were severely criticized for the decidedly poor quota of East Asian actors in their multi-ethnic casts, and the discrepancies present in the portrayal of “Ancient” and “imaginary” Chinas. Each production draws on plays and stories that are part of a history of one-directional cross-cultural appropriation by European artists. Despite the change in mentalities over the past century, and the attempts at diversifying the British and American theatre industries through multi-ethnic casting and intercultural performance, the legacy of the imperialist appropriation of supposedly “exotic” art-forms resurfaces in such productions. This article aims to assess the pitfalls of Western-led intercultural performance and multi-ethnic casting, the representations of Chinese stage stereotypes, and the state of racial relations in the entertainment industry.
Lee , V 2012 , ' “In Search of the Orphan” : intercultural theatre, multi-ethnic casting, and the representation of Chineseness on European and North American stages ' , Transtext(e)s Transcultures 跨文本跨文化 , vol. 7 , 455 . https://doi.org/10.4000/transtexts.455
Transtext(e)s Transcultures 跨文本跨文化
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