To The Editor:
My organization, the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, has just learned about the production of “Madame Butterfly” this weekend at the Fargo-Moorhead Opera and its use of the widely criticized practice of “yellowface,” that is to say the casting of Caucasian performers to portray Asian characters, utilizing makeup, hairstyles and costuming to appropriate a culture that is not theirs.
An article today in InForum (http://www.inforum.com/variety/3870880-weekend-watch-bittersweet-butterfly-classic-opera-sparks-debate-over-cultural) raises the recent experience of the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, who canceled their production of “The Mikado” when their use of yellowface came to light; despite that, the director of your local company says he doesn’t want to be “limited by who he can cast,” which is to say he is not interested in seeing an authentic representation of Asian culture on his stage, even within a problematic work.
I don’t know whether you’re planning any coverage of the opera, but I’d like to draw your attention to the first three pieces about the NYGASP “Mikado,” which speak in various ways about the practice of yellowface:
I would also draw your attention to these articles about the controversy and the practice:
Admittedly, Fargo may not be New York City, but offensive cultural practices know no boundaries. I hope you’ll consider illuminating this issue for your community, and I’d be happy to connect you with Asian-American artists who can speak personally about the pain that yellowface brings and the stereotyping it perpetuates.
by Sabrina Hornung
There’s something to be said about the art of listening. Effective communication is like playing a game of catch, you need to bounce the conversation ball back and forth to keep it going. I never was one much for sports-ball but…
FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…
by HPR Contributor
By Cindy Nicholscindy.firstname.lastname@example.orgI find myself almost weepy with appreciation, these days, for any small reprieve I can find from chronic sickness-at-heart; any small mercy that either helps me to forget about 45 for an hour,…
by Greg Carlson
Longtime writing partners Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein make their joint directorial debut but don’t quite get everything right in “I Feel Pretty,” an Amy Schumer vehicle that jettisons the hard-R ribaldry of…
by Megan Bartholomay
I consider myself an avid wine drinker, but I recently found out there are more than 10,000 varieties of grapes, and about 1,500 of those are used to make commercial wines. I don’t know about you, but I could probably name about…