Tag Archives: discrimination

Responses to criticism of a white man in the role of a Thai king – Part 1

I promised I would respond to the criticisms that have been directed to Byron Bache’s article about the casting of a white opera singer in the role of a Thai king. Do enjoy.

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This ‘moot point’ that a Thai would never assume this role because they would find it offensive, is clearly addressed when Byron states ‘…with Asian performers still drastically under-represented in the theatre, the casting of Rhodes as a Thai king is downright shameful.’ All too often are ethnic roles white-washed, why shouldn’t a Thai represent a Thai on stage? THAT is the ‘moot point’ here. Unless you are a Thai performer with extensive stage experience, unless you have those specifics, I’m going to assume that you don’t know whether or not that Thai performer would or would not consider The King of Siam role. There is a gaping hole in your argument, this musical is about a Thai king OF THAILAND, OF COURSE THE LEAD HAS TO BE THAI, (or at the very least Thai-looking) OTHERWISE THERE IS NO REALISTIC JUSTIFICATION TO THE ENTIRE STORY.

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Ahhh it sounds like we have a Teddy fan. Just as you are privy to your own opinions about Mr. Rhodes’ mellifluous baritone, so is Byron to his own opinions, yes Byron is a critic and we don’t always agree with critics but he is very knowledgeable about theatre. And do you think you can you leave it up to an actual  Thai performer to decide whether they would accept the role or not based on their own merits and values? Cheers.

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No, Teddy does not look Thai enough. He is not Thai. He is just white. Therefore it is wrong he be cast in the role OF A THAI. In case I haven’t made myself clear enough, Teddy can appear Scottish, French, English, Irish, German, Italian, with a bit of creativity he even makes a passable Walter White but he DOES NOT LOOK THAI. You obviously haven’t read the first paragraph of this article properly. Where on earth did you draw conclusions about the production making it to Thailand when it’s distinctly mentioned that it will be an Australian one? Yul Brynner portrayed this role in the 1950s, this article questions Teddy’s casting in a 21st century production. It questions whether in 2013, how we still cannot find a single Thai performer and instead opt for a white performer with ‘mass appeal’. Ditto for the role of Mrs Anna. Teddy’s casting guarantees bums on seats, it’s not about staying true to the story. And lastly, your stupidity of confusing race and height, as if they are actually comparable, just makes you sound stupid, and frankly, it makes me fucking mad.

Byron, keep fighting the good fight. Part II coming soon.


Related blogs

I’ve recently added a Related sites page, here you’ll find links to websites that I’ve found interesting about the ethnicity debate in mainstream media, go on, have a peep

As you all know, I’m running this campaign for a final semester university assignment, that being said, it would be super fantastic if this campaign garnered enough traction to actually achieve it’s goal. A major production at the Sydney Theatre Company with a multicultural cast. I’ve gotten into touch with STC via Twitter and am awaiting a response, will blog about it when I receive one.

In other news, the course that I’m running this campaign for has given us one week before we have to write our experiences up into a critical reflection, there is no doubt that I will continue running this campaign after the assignment due date has passed, no matter how busy I become I’ll always work towards achieving what I’ve set out to do. Some of my classmates have campaigns similar to mine, I’m going to provide a link here to their websites, happy reading:

We Give a Damn – Step-by-step on how to become more involved with your local community.

South West is Best – I live in the South West and there’s so much bad rap in the media about my area that hardly anything positive receives coverage, my friends over at South West is Best are aiming to promote a better image of us Westies.

Women in Theatre – Self explanatory. Gender inequality has to be one of the most pressing issues of our time, get behind it.

The Discrimination is Project – Fascinating project on discrimination.

‘Til next time,