Tag Archives: Colour-blind casting

When is Teddy Tahu not a Thai?

Stumbled across Byron Bache’s article about Teddy Tahu being cast as the King of Siam in an Australian production of The King and I here are some great points I think Byron has made in the article:

‘Colour-blind casting is not employing Caucasians to play Asian roles, it’s disregarding race when it’s irrelevant to the story.’

‘Despite its alleged race-blind casting policies, Opera Australia considered ethnicity to be relevant in the casting of the chorus. The audition notice for the show called for dancers “of any Asian ethnicity”’

‘The lesser principal roles also went to Asian performers, with Chinese-born Australian opera singer Shu-Cheen Yu playing Lady Thiang and Adrian Li Donni cast as Lun Tha.’

Additionally, there is a similar sentiment amongst the majority of comments, that firstly, there is no feasible reason as to why a Thai opera singer would accept the King of Siam role. Simply because these individuals straight-up assume that there is not a single opera singer of Thai or Asian IN THE ENTIRE WORLD that wouldn’t be offended by this role and secondly, The King and I is banned and has been banned from ever being produced in Thailand, hence, no Thai would consider this part. What a load of balls.

If you scroll down, you’ll see that some of the comments are idiotic and downright bigoted. Unfortunately, since Crikey doesn’t allow direct responses (at least not to my knowledge) I’m going to publish a blog post with my responses to some of the comments.

Ciao for now,

Kelly