The Sydney Theatre Company 2014 season brochure was released not long ago. The range of works seems interesting, there is one play that has caught my eye, ‘Kryptonite‘ starring Ursula Mills, the description on the STC website reads:
“Dylan is a carefree, charming Aussie bloke and Lian a shy international student. Over the years their paths cross; he has become a politician whose career is solidly in ascendance while she has finally returned to China as a senior executive.
Life experience – and personal interests – have fashioned new dissonances in their friendship. Is desire enough to transcend politics? Can they bridge the gap?”
It sounds promising. I was alerted to the Queensland Theatre Company 2014 brochure by Caitlin from Women In Theatre (pay her site a visit for interesting posts on females on stage). Now have a look at their program. Done? No have a look back at the STC brochure, okay done? Now look back at the QTC brochure. Do you see something disparaging? I’m not saying ‘shame on you STC and the insubstantial amount of multicultural plays you’re producing next year (one out of sixteen)’ although it is rather pathetic when compared to QTC (four out of ten) that has The Mountaintop, Macbeth, The Magic Hour and Black Diggers.
These are two theatres in two different cities, similarity is that both are staging a version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. QTC’s Macbeth includes a multicultural cast and STC stars Hugo Weaving whom I adore, however, he’s tried and tested. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, smaller actors deserve a chance.
One of the things I would like to see in my lifetime is a Middle Eastern actor portraying Lady Macbeth. My tutor at uni mentioned how that wouldn’t help to perpetuate stereotypes, but I’m convinced otherwise, basically I’d like for the minority actor community to be given the chance to sink their teeth in a role with substance.
The one time Neighbours introduces a Korean character, Sunny Lee, she is the most irritating and two-dimensional on screen persona. Granted that was in 2009, there is now a gay, Asian swimming star; ie. Hudson Walsh, that doesn’t pardon the lame excuse of an exit for the Kapoors (an Indian family that had their stint cut too short). That the family left to visit an ailing grandmother in India, NEVER TO RETURN makes perfect sense especially when they’ve grown up and were educated in Australia. Read more about it here.
I don’t believe the idea that the best actor for a role is based purely on talent and skill with no consideration towards appearance. When a casting director looks for actors, they have a particular look in mind. They accept and reject people based on appearance as well as skill.
Leading me to my next topic, which is the reason why I made this campaign in the first place. I want to see a major stage play at the Sydney Theatre Company with a multi-racial cast.
I believe it’s a great way to create the opportunities for ethnic actors that are so much needed. Not only that, but it would be really bleeding interesting as an audience member to witness these interactions. Currently there is The Colourblind Project, which is doing a great job of expanding opportunities for actors of all races in Australia. I would encourage readers of this blog to follow their activity and ongoing development.
Just wanting to get some discussion going, let me know below in the comments, which ethnic actor you would like to see take on a Shakespearean role? My suggestion is Australian actor, Remy Hii in the leading role of Hamlet, like many, I first heard of him from Khoa Do’s biopic of Van Nguyen called Better Man and if you’ve seen it too, you’ll know that he is an actor capable of incredible pathos, vulnerability and fracturing honesty. It would be fascinating to see him step into the Prince of Denmark’s shoes.