Responses to criticism of a white man in the role of a Thai king – Part 2

Here is Part 2 of a series about the criticism that has been directed towards Byron Bache’s article about Teddy Tahu Rhodes being cast as the King of Siam in an upcoming Australian production of The King and IPart 1 can be found here. 

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Yes I suppose he does.

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Hmm…you kind of got me there. Just kidding. Let’s begin with your claim that it’s a bit difficult to determine when ethnicity is irrelevant to the plot. That would be up to the director and his team to decide, in this instance, they’ve decided, erroneously, ‘how much can we profit out of a production when the lead is a Thai or an Asian compared to if the King is Teddy-frickin’ Tahu Rhodes? The latter of whom has been the subject of Australian tabloid fodder for ages now. Ya feel me? Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted over the centuries, playwrights are able to alter all sorts of details to suit their reinterpretations as they see fit. *Sigh* of course the duke, duchess, king, queen etc… don’t have to be white because simply because the Elizabethan era dictates it. HOWEVER it doesn’t excuse the fact that Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini, claims the ethnicity of the lead role was irrelevant and yet the lesser known roles of Lady Thiang, Lun Tha and the chorus,  were for ‘dancers of any Asian ethnicity’.  Here, I even drew a table to explain it to your dumb ass.

The King of Siam Chorus, Lady Thiang, Lun Tha
Lead role, spends the most time in front of audience Smaller roles, lesser known and spends less time in front of audience.
Race is irrelevant Race is very relevant

Conclusion: Big roles, no need to be Asian. Small roles, has to be Asian.

And that’s why it’s fucking disgraceful and hypocritical. You are correct though, by no means is The King & I a documentary, As for the fact that the King’s ethnicity isn’t mentioned, guiltily, when I heard: ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’ and The King & I and The King of Siam, Siam being what Thailand was called prior 1939, I just assumed that he would be …Thai! Crazy huh?

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Utter crap? There are many valid points in the article, you’re just too entrenched in your fucking twisted ideals to see them mate. The most obvious one of which is questioning that ‘the best musical theatre performers Opera Australia could find’ is Teddy and Lisa McCune. Another Teddy fan have we? Byron does not think that including Teddy’s entire CV is as important as addressing the issue of profit before giving an underrepresented opera singer a go, and don’t tell me that money should trump fairness because it’s realistic. Thai opera singers are jobbing performers too that should get a role meant for them and thus, a pay check. The reality is their role has to go to someone who doesn’t remotely resemble an Asian in appearance, that the best performer for a Thai role, is not a Thai. It’s like being told the ethnicity you are born as, what you had no choice in deciding, is not good enough to portray what you actually are, THAT’S their reality. No, no, no, no, NO! ARRRRRRRGGGGH! How dare you try and use the holy grail of Shakespeare in your defense. Othello is described as a moor, he is ostracised because of his skin colour, it wouldn’t make any sense for him to be another ethnicity otherwise unless the play was rewritten. I have not the pleasure of seeing Placido Domingo (a Spaniard) in the role of Othello, so my knowledge of this is very limited but chrissakes, that does not make it fucking alright. And what exactly does the writing reveal about the author? That he is against the prejudiced casting by GordonFrost/Opera Australia? Anyway I have spent ample time countering your vile writing, for now.

That’s all from me for a while folks, please share, retweet and leave comments below if you’d like. Cheerio~


One thought on “Responses to criticism of a white man in the role of a Thai king – Part 2

  1. The fact that people are defending this casting proves that we have a massive problem in Australia. You know what’s interesting? The role of Aaron in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare refers to the character as ‘a moor’) has NEVER been given to a Caucasian actor. One reason is that a very big deal is made over the fact that the character is of a different ethnicity – they try to kill his child because of it! But Aaron is also seen as the villain of the piece. If he was the hero, would they reconsider? Perhaps not, but it’s interesting to contemplate.

    Another example is the Disney movie Aladdin. It was widely believed that the character Aladdin was modelled off Tom Cruise, whereas the ‘bad’ characters were all distinctly less-Western. Aladdin also had an American accent, whereas the ‘bad’ characters had Middle Eastern accents. Dodgy…

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