The yellowface of “The Mikado” in your face
Remember when someone pranked a San Francisco TV station into reporting that the names of the Asiana plane crash pilots were “Captain Sum Ting Wong” and “Wi Tu Lo”?
After the station KTVU realized its mistake, it fired three producers.
But in Seattle, at least one theater plans to spend the summer guffawing about how Asian names sound like gibberish.
“The Mikado,” a comic opera, is playing at the Bagley Wright Theatre from July 11 to July 26, produced by the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society.
Set in the fictional Japanese town of Titipu — get it? — the opera features characters named Nanki Poo, Yum-Yum and Pish-Tush. It’s a rom-com where true love is threatened by barbaric beheadings.
All 40 Japanese characters are being played by white actors, including two Latinos. KIRO radio host Dave Ross is in the cast.
It’s yellowface, in your face.
read more: http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2024050056_mikadosharonpianchancolumn14xml.html
There are so many problems with this play, regardless of who produces it.
When I was still in grade school, my dad bought some tickets to go to a local college’s production of this show. We knew it was going to be based in Japan from the title, but at some point through the bad hair and floppy bathrobes used for kimono, I stopped thinking it was about Japan because it so obviously wasn’t in any sense based on what Japan really is like. It was easier to watch it thinking about it that way.
But then they had the emperor make a grand entrance through a prop of a gigantic sumo wrestler’s loincloth.
They had the emperor come out of a gigantic asshole.