Monday, 20 February 2017

Poetry on One Day Without Us: Yellowface #1DayWithoutUs

In support of today's One Day Without Us day of action in the UK, I'm posting my poetry on the subject throughout the day.



With Charles Shaar Murray and Buffalo Bill Smith, St Ives festival 2009

Yellowface

I’m Yellowface
Gonna eat your soul
I’m Yellowface
I’m Yellowface
Gonna swallow you whole
I’m Yellowface
Make you scrabble like a mole in a hole
For every little part, any little role
Make you thank me for the things I stole
I’m Yellowface

Endless night no hope in sight
You're crazy for a chink of light
Keep you polite, out of the damn fight
Creature of the night
No sense of right
You know what else?
Youy’re lacking in height
No sight of your own might
Trite, no bite.

I’m Yellowface
Gonna keep you small
I’m Yellowface
I’m Yellowface
Don’t see you at all
I’m Yellowface
I’m the devil with a shovel
I’ll bury you good
Deep in the woods
Right where you stood
‘Cause you so slow and you knew I could
I’m Yellowface

Teeny little folk so cute, can I feed you?
I think I need an electron miscroscope to see you
Maybe a Hubble telescope to even get near you
Wanna hug you, wanna hold you, ain't never gonna fear you

I’m Yellowface
I don’t wanna see you
I’m Yellowface
I just wanna be you
Five minutes that’s all it takes
To empty you out, hey, them’s the breaks
Scoop you out hollow
Like a ricy husk
Chain you up, let you out at dusk
Or maybe a week, that’s enough
'Cause you’re so meek and I’m very tough
I’m Yellowface
Gonna eat your soul,
I’m Yellowface
Gonna swallow you whole
I’m the devil with a shovel
I’ll bury you good
Deep in the woods
Right where you stood
Coz you so slow and you knew I could
I’m Yellowface
Yellowface
I'm Yellowface

by Anna Chen, June 2009

READ MORE about the One Day Without Us day of action here

TWITTER: #1DayWithoutUs

Poetry on One Day Without Us: I Am Rich and You Are Poor #1DayWithoutUs

I Am Rich and You Are Poor: lines on dead Chinese workers and their rich benefactors by Anna Chen


In support of today's One Day Without Us day of action in the UK, I'm posting my poetry on the subject throughout the day.



I Am Rich and You Are Poor
Lines on dead Chinese workers and their rich benefactors

I am rich and you are poor
I travel, you seek a foreign shore
You have needs but I have more
Hey, let’s all give to charidee.

The world’s an oyster, a wondrous thing
Find the pearl, make an angel sing
To swinish herds it’s all just bling
Hey, let’s all give to charidee.

I’ve news for you, I’ll beg, implore,
You aren’t walking through that door
You figure what frontiers are for
Hey, let’s all give to charidee.

I am rich and you are skint
You slave for pennies, I made a mint
This world loves those who’re carved from flint
Hey, let’s all give to charidee.

I weep for you, I sympathise
Look, tears are welling in my eyes
You’re coming here to seek the prize
But tales of gold are pretty lies
You want to be where you’re despised?
You’ll be lucky if you’re serving fries.
Yes, me, well I have cash to buy
Whatever I want, I get to fly

Not hide in a truck, rolling in muck
Relying on luck to make a buck
Stuck in a rut with the doors all shut
Banging on gates and the ladder pulled up.

Sucked down in the sands
You ebb with the tides
White under the moon
You shine in the sea

I am rich and you are poor
Bottom of the barrel while I’m top drawer
I will help you stay where you are
Hey, let’s all give to charidee.

I am rich, you’re stony broke
I am special, you’re an anonymous bloke
We’ll only love, respect, honour, support, hold you, care for your loved ones, when you croak
Hey, let’s all give to charidee.

Anna Chen February 2009

READ MORE about the One Day Without Us day of action here


TWITTER: #1DayWithoutUs

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Chinese British support UK One Day Without Us day of action

The cast of the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Snow In Midsummer in rehearsal holding One Day Without Us placards. From left to right: Katie Leung, Andrew Koji, Lucy Sheen, Wendy Kweh, Andrew Leung, Jonathan Ragget, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Daniel York, director Justin Audibert, Richard Rees, Kevin Shen. At the front in the red jacket is Jaqueline Chan and (kneeling) Sarah Lam.

Chinese British support UK One Day Without Us National Day of Action in defence of migrant workers, Monday 20 February


Monday is Britain's turn to host a National Day of Action as part of an international protest in defence of migrant workers who have been used and abused for too long. Even now, they are being treated as a political football by this squalid government. We are declaring our support and solidarity with a vital strand of workers who have kept this country going.

If you stripped out our migrant workers, Britain would fall apart. One Day Without Us should give us a taster of what life would be like without immigrants.

There are 15,000 fewer teachers in further education than we had in 2009. Science teachers are in such short supply that they will have to be recruited from abroad. This year we're expected to experience an exodus of EU migrant workers from the UK. And we'll all have to work harder for longer because we won't have the replacement workers to pay for pensions.

As is the rest of the developed world, the UK is suffering a shrinking workforce as baby boomers start to retire. We simply don't have enough workers to replace them.

It is clearly bad for the UK to exclude the people who pick our veg, build our infrastructure, run our buses, cook and serve our food in the lovely Chinese and Indian restaurants and takeaways we use all the time, look after us in the NHS or in care homes, or study and teach in our universities. Did you know that there are tens of thousands of Chinese students paying fees to study in our higher education system right now? In total, more than 150,000 overseas students contribute more than £2.3 billion per year to the exchequer, £8 billion to the British economy.

It's particularly relevant to Chinese in Britain as restaurant workers have been targeted by the Border Patrol in fishing raids.


A banker, a worker and an immigrant walk into a bar. On a table there are ten pies. The banker eats nine of the pies and says to the worker: watch out for him. He's after your pie. That's what the government and the Brexit movement are saying. And the government and Brexit are joined by Lexit — leftists for Brexit who dangerously accommodate 'alternative facts' about migrants taking 'our' jobs.

Remember: it was the bankers who crashed the economy in 2008. And it was China who was able to take up some of the slack and give us time to get the system back on track. Unfortunately, instead of steadying the system in everyone's interest, the West bailed out the bankers with public money and set us on course for disaster yet again. US markets are all a-quiver as hugely over-priced stocks seem to defy the laws of physics — the next crash may be as bad as the 1920s. It's like playing pass-the-parcel with a live grenade and everyone's waiting for the music to stop.

In the meantime, the poorest paid the bill through George Osborne's vicious and thoroughly discredited austerity measures, targeting those least able to afford it. What was the point of a bedroom tax that cost as much to administer as it collected? What did the cruelty of PIP cuts achieve except to cause pain, misery and even death for the disabled? Which migrants stopped much needed housing being built?

The billionaire class would like us all at each others throats — it takes our attention away from "Sir" Philip Green's third mega-yacht or "Sir" Richard Branson's private Caribbean island and his publicly subsidised rail service. The top percentage quadrupled their wealth since 2000, and tripled it since the 2008 crash while general incomes haven't even made it back to pre-2008 levels — we are far from all in it together.

The usual suspects have been rounded up: the disabled, those on benefits, ethnic minorities, pensioners, women, and people who come here to work (remember: immigrants yield a net benefit to the nation's coffers). But none of them chose to stop building homes (and handily keep property prices elevated), or to slow investment in education, or to run the NHS into the ground for privatisers to pillage.

The EU referendum has boiled down to a bogus debate about immigration that is dependent on the lie that migrants take 'our' jobs. Employers, who do the actual employing and the paying, are rendered invisible. No-one criticises – say – Dyson for closing its UK factory and pursuing cheap labour in Malaysia. If any Lexiteer tells you it's the migrants' fault, they are – to put it mildly – misinformed. Or misinforming.

Brexit means getting Trump. We're being delivered out of the EU frying-pan and into the Trump fire by both the government and the Labour opposition. The NHS is on offer for predatory US business — how does this mean 'taking back control'? Labour and the rest of the left should be holding the line, rather than capitulating to the specious immigration debate that's been whipped up by the mainstream media.

On Monday, the Ensuring We Remember campaign, set up in memory of the more than 140,000 in the Chinese Labour Corps who served in the Allied forces in Europe in World War I doing the dirtiest, most dangerous jobs, will be tweeting support using the hashtag #1DayWithoutUs.

Anyone in London who would like to take part should get to Parliament Square at 12:30pm and join the FLAG MOB with your national flags in time for the 1pm linking of arms in symbolic solidarity with migrants.

Please join us across the country on Monday 20th February and stand by your fellow working-class human being. You have more in common with them than Farage, Boris Johnson or any of the purported (c)leftists who are failing to stand firm on basic principles and folding like origami. Which, like shampoo, pyjamas, paper, mathematics and science, has its origins in that there "Abroad".


A banker, a worker and an immigrant walk into a bar … TED Talk by Anna Chen

#1daywithoutus #1DWU

Snow in Midsummer at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford on Avon

What happens to a minority when the government needs a scapegoat: the 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak

One Day Without Us — London

One Day Without Us

Migration Collective
Migration stories at
Upstairs at the Ritzy
Brixton Oval, SW2 1JG London, United Kingdom
https://www.facebook.com/events/643903709104562/
https://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/migration-stories

Friday, 27 January 2017

President Trump to personally handle UK trade deal despite his nightmare record in business: Theresa May rolls over


President Trump has told Theresa May that he will personally negotiate the trade deal with the UK. He has no commerce secretary yet.


Many of us are wondering what could possibly go wrong?

Estimates that the Trump chicken comes home to roost (in the Chinese year of the Fire Rooster, note) are set somewhere around the autumn. Trump can't possibly achieve the 3-4 per cent growth he's promised due to the unvavourable demographics. Baby boomers are retiring and not being replaced. US unemployment is low so wages will rise (a good thing), leading to inflation (bad if this is due to rising costs, not greater demand or consumption).

My understanding is that the underlying pattern is deflation after the stagflation period (inflation with stagnant growth). So the Fed will have to tighten monetary control by raising interest rates to control rising inflation after years of trying to kick start it, and the US will be at, or heading back to, negative rates by next year.

However, rather than lower rates stimulating growth and investment (it didn't work before, it created bubbles), expect an exodus of money from overpriced US stock markets which may trigger the inevitable crash everyone's been waiting for as they play pass the parcel with a live grenade.

Trump can only disappoint.

Wealth fleeing the stock markets will chase bonds for a fixed income — even if Treasury bond yields hit 2.5-3%, this will be higher than plummeting or negative interest rates by then. Then the yields drop as everyone dives back in and when these fail, it's down to cash and digital currencies.

Depending on who you listen to, gold will either soar to 10,000 bucks an ounce or it will drop to $700 as it's not a currency and you can't buy a loaf of bread with a flake of gold if things actually get that bad. There's a saying: "Buy gold for protection but hope it doesn't go up." 'Cause then you know something seriously ba-a-a-ad is happpening and the price of gold is probably the least of your problems by then.

In the meantime emerging markets (EM) such as Brazil, India and Asia in general — the one area of meaningful growth — will have been damaged by Trump's protectionist policies. The dollar will keep heading north as there will be fewer of them and global trade is carried out in dollars. This will make US manufacturing hellishly expensive for overseas buyers. So I think there will be disaster within Trump's first two or three years. He may even have the inevitable crash later this year.

And who will get the blame?

Round up the usual suspects: immigrants and China.

If things look particularly dire, central banks may return to the bankrupt policy of Quantitive Easing whereby the government floods the economy by buying its own debt bonds and keeps everything artificially buoyed up, creating asset bubbles. Capitalism allows the market's survival of the fittest rules to decide everything except when it comes to a crisis that hits the wealthy. Then the markets must be rigged — which is what QE and bailing out failing banks amounts to. Socialism for the rich, capitalism for everyone else.


I don't see how we can't be pulled into the US maelstrom especially if our post EU trade depends on the US. Britain has landed between Scylla and Charybdis, the whirlpool of an imploding EU and the crashing rocks of the Trump toddler on the protectionist smash-up. The best we can do is win a role as a vassal state of the US. Well done Cameron for triggering a global domino collapse with that unnecessary referendum which MPs voted for because they were assured IT WASN'T LEGALLY BINDING ...


Asia might pull something positive out of a hat, especially if China fills the gap left by a protectionist USA. But then the stubby-fingered one will most likely try to bomb them back to the stone age. You can see the boys gagging to play with the toys with a blockade of the South China Sea's Malacca Straits as the opener.

Maybe this is the one area where he gets to please his mates after all.


Bernie Sanders On Donald Trump's Filthy Rich Cabinet


How Trump Could Cause the Economic Meltdown

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Scenes from a Yellowface Execution: Daniel York on Howard Barker's In the Depths of Dead Love at the Print Room


Scenes From A Yellowface Execution
By Daniel York

First published at www.theplaysthethinguk.com 18th December 2016

Before we go any further, let me lay a couple of things out there:

1) Howard Barker is a first-rate dramatist.
2) The Print Room in Notting Hill is a great small-scale theatre.

But they have epically and catastrophically screwed up their casting choices in Barker’s latest offering, In The Depths Of Dead Love. According to the theatre’s website, the play is set in “Ancient China”, concerns an “Emperor” and “Imperial Court” and features characters called “Chin” and “Mrs. Hu”, with an entirely white cast who (without wishing to sound too ironically stereotypical) one would normally expect to see on TV taking tea with Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey.

It’s also doubly ironic that in post-referendum, post-truth Brexit Britain, we’ve spent the last few months being told that you simply cannot call people stupid or racist.

Well, here’s the deal. We don’t actually have to be stupid to do stupid things and we’re all perfectly capable of perpetuating systemic racism without actually being consciously racist. Yes, it’s a subtle one, folks, and interestingly, I can honestly say, hand on heart, I have never once heard the immortal words “I don’t have a racist bone in my body” said by any person of colour. Not one. Because people of colour are ten times as aware of racism as white people. It’s just a fact.

Now, what that hotbed of London fringe theatre that is the Print Room have done, in a play by one of Britain’s most eminent playwrights, is perpetuate the practice of “yellowface,” i.e. when a person who is not of East Asian descent plays a character of East Asian descent. Yellowface, like blackface and brownface, is a remnant of a time when actors of colour were simply not allowed on our stages.

There’s often confusion about a couple of things here. People like to kid themselves that blackface only ever happened in some bygone Edwardian hinterland and only then because there were no black actors around to play Othello. However, this isn’t actually true. The last blacked up Moor of Venice on our stages was as recently as 1990. The practice was only ended by protest from black actors.

Yellowface has lingered on a lot longer, unfortunately. We did however think we’d finally laid the culturally appropriated beast to rest (on British stages at least) in 2012 when, after the Royal Shakespeare Company elected to cast only three (out of a cast of 17) East Asian actors in minor roles (including a dog and a maid) in the Chinese classic, The Orphan Of Zhao, a mass social media protest that went viral globally caused considerable embarrassment to both the RSC and the British theatre industry as a whole.

Since then we have seen a whole slew of productions in major theatres: Chimerica, #AiWeiWei, The World Of Extreme Happiness, Yellowface, You For Me For You, P’yongyang, Shangrila, The Sugar-Coated Bullets Of The Bourgeoisie, all in major venues, achieving enormous success with casts of real-life East Asian actors, rather than Caucasians doing an “ethnic turn”. We will also shortly see Snow In Midsummer, at the RSC no less, and Chinglish at the Park Theatre. These are cast with actors who can actually trace their roots to Eastern Asia.

The other confusion that lingers about yellow (and black and brown) face is that if you don’t have the make-up on, the taped eyelids and the dodgy Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany’s accent, this somehow ceases to be dodgy theatre practice and magically becomes instead a perfectly valid form of “colour-blind casting”.

But this is the deal. If you take an East Asian character and cast it with a white actor, you’re effectively saying there is no East Asian actor who was good enough/clever enough/talented enough/capable enough to play it.

Or they simply did not exist.

In other words: erasure.

* * * * *

POSTSCRIPT: ‪Daniel York — 15th January 2017

I actually sat down and read In The Depths of Dead Love last night.‬

‪If anything I’m even more angry now.‬

‪The argument put forth by the Print Room is that, although the play is set in Ancient China and the characters have Chinese names, the characters are not “Chinese” and it’s a very “English story”.‬

‪Is this true? Well, there’s a lot of “deep bows” and talk of Emperors but reading the work leaves me wondering just exactly how “ethno-specific” a play would have to get before the people who nurtured, programmed and presented this one would consider that, yes, we might just have to cast some actors who aren’t actually Caucasian and middle-class.‬

‪The thing that really does disgust me, though, is the Print Room’s argument that they should have the right to cast “the best actors for the roles, independent of ethnic origin”.‬

‪Leaving aside that being “independent of ethnic origin” appears to be a privilege that only applies to white people, we have the Print Room citing Christopher Hurrell’s piece in defence that “the characteristics (Barker’s play) seeks in actors are not social, cultural or ethnic—they’re technical, aesthetic and artistic”‬

‪Let’s just pause there. Would it have to be written in pidgin English before the demands were relegated to “social, cultural or ethnic”?‬

‪And this is what is utterly despicable about the whole argument, had so many times in the past and, I hope, not too many in the future: the sheer racial and social snobbery embodied by organisations like the Print Room and the Wrestling School when they assert that they cast “the best actors for the role”. What they’re actually saying is “you little ethnics just aren’t up to the job”.‬

‪This would be bad enough but we’re now all pretty much certain that they never met or considered any actors of any other ethnic background other than white Caucasian for this play. This play which was produced on the radio in 2013. Which Christopher Hurrell maintains was given a reading at the Print Room in 2013. They’ve had FOUR YEARS to develop this. FOUR YEARS in which it does look as if they never once even considered casting actors who weren’t white Caucasian entirely because, I presume, they never once considered that actors who weren’t white Caucasian were up to the “technical, aesthetic and artistic” demands of the play.‬

‪The racial and social snobbery is compounded by the Print Room alleging that the protests have come from “some members of the public” when in fact it’s mainly members of the theatre community. When they argue that the references to China are merely “oblique”. When they give trite lectures about The Great Man being a “fabulist” whose work “is poetic and often difficult to pin down in time or place”.‬

‪Yes, we do understand all those things. Because we’ve actually read a few books too. We understand the arguments perfectly because, believe it or not, we’re “artists” as well. ‬

‪And, as artists, we politely but firmly reject this cultural ethnic elitist high-handedness.‬

Daniel York (sometimes known as Daniel York Loh) is a mixed-race British East Asian actor, writer, filmmaker and musician. As an actor he has appeared at the RSC, National Theatre and Royal Court, as well as in the feature films The Beach and Rogue Trader. His short films have been seen in major film festivals where they have been nominated for awards. His first full-length play, The Fu Manchu Complex, ran at Ovalhouse in 2013. Along with composer Craig Adams, he won the 2016 Perfect Pitch award to create an original stage musical, Sinking Water, based on events around the 2004 Morecambe Bay Chinese cockle-picker tragedy, which is currently being developed under commission by Theatre Royal Stratford East. He is one of 21 writers of colour featured in the collection of essays, The Good Immigrant, which won the 2016 Books Are My Bag Reader’s Choice award. He is one-third of the alt-folk trio Wondermare whose self-titled debut album is available to buy on itunes. He has served on the Equity Minority Ethnic Members Committee, is a founder member of British East Asian Artists and has worked with Act For Change to promote diversity in UK media.

Tonight's protest against the use of yellowface casting in Howard Barker's play, In the Depths of Dead Love, takes place at the Print Room, 5pm onwards.

READ MORE AT THESE LINKS:

For a one-stop archive of events click on PRINT ROOM IN THE DEPTHS OF DEAD LOVE PROTEST CHRONOLOGY

PRINT ROOM STOP YELLOWFACE CAMPAIGN INTRO

Lucy Sheen: The 2017 play that shows Yellowface lives on
http://www.weareresonate.com/2016/12/feature-depths-dead-love-2017-play-shows-yellowface-lives-media/


Daniel York: Scenes From a Yellowface Execution

Playwright Jingan Young, South China Morning Post: London storm turns spotlight on ‘whitewashing’ in film and theatre

Dr Amanda Rogers: Yellowface alive and well at the Print Room

Actor Erin Quill 16.01.17: In the Depths of British Theatrical Racism @the_printroom

Actor David Lee Jones, Nee Hao magazine 19.12.16: Why is it not acceptable to cast white actors to play Chinese characters on stage or on screen?

Actor Vera Chok 14.01.16: More thoughts on the Print Room

Brian Law on Facebook 18.01.17: So I went to see the play tonight ...

Howard Sherman, The Stage: Yellowface is wrong and the Print Room's explanation is meaningless

Lyn Gardner, the Guardian: Theatre is coming to terms with its diversity problem. Real progress is vital

Wealth brings power, the power to open a theatre in London's Notting Hill, the power to define human beings as worthy or not of inclusion, of defining whether or not we are English. Rich white women in need of a hobby get to do that to us because they are married to hedge fund bankers whose nationality, like capital, knows no frontiers. These are our rulers in our post-truth new world.

Facebook: Protest Against Yellowface Casting at the Print Room

Director Andrew Keates: letter to the Print Room's artistic director

Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out: There's going to be an anti-racism protest tomorrow over a fringe play in Notting Hill

The Stage 20.12.16: Equity adds voice to condemnation of Print Room ‘yellowface’ casting ... Equity general secretary Christine Payne also criticised the theatre's response of accusations against it, adding: "The Print Room’s statement is completely unacceptable on a number of levels, not least of which is the suggestion that an 'English' play must be completely white.”

What's On Stage 21.12.16: The Print Room apologises for 'any offence caused' in yellowface dispute (but only makes it worse)

The Stage 13.01.17: Print Room "artistic" director describes our protestations as a "social media attack" proving Mrs Hedge Fund couldn't give a flying one.

Grumpy Gay Critic 04.01.17: Yellowface and ‘In The Depths of Dead Love’. What Next? An Action Plan For Diverse Theatre Casting. The Print Room’s casting for In the Depths of Dead Love is a disgrace, and we’re certainly angry. But how can we move towards genuine change?

Evening Standard 19.01.17: Notting Hill theatre faces 'yellowface' protest for casting white actors in Chinese roles

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Hedge fund theatre in Howard Barker yellowface protest: The Print Room 5pm Thursday 19th January

East Asians, theatre practitioners, academics and friends protest against Yellowface casting in Howard Barker play, In the Depths of Dead Love, at the Print Room 19th January



This Thursday (19th January) sees a peaceful protest of Chinese, East Asians, theatre practitioners, academics and friends at the Print Room in London where Howard Barker's play, In the Depths of Dead Love, will be performed by white actors in yellowface casting.

Despite being set in "ancient China", all the Chinese-named characters are played by white actors, rendering us invisible, dehumanised and vulnerable at a time when anti-Chinese feeling is being whipped up by forces who want war with China. In a world rapidly lurching to the right. Barker does the work of the state in denying us our value as human beings.

If this looks familiar, it is. We went through this before when the Royal Shakespeare Company cast The Orphan of Zhao with East Asian actors in only four minor roles out of 17, and none in the main parts. The campaign gave birth to the British East Asian Artists who fought this battle and will continue to challenge all attempts to erase us from our own society and the arts we should all be enjoying fairly and equally on a level playing field.

Blackface has rightly been consigned to the depths of dead prejudice, but East Asians are considered defenceless fair game.

The Print Room, a hedge-fund-financed theatre in Notting Hill (Iraq War co-ordinating bank J P Morgan's Bill Winters is the artistic director's husband who helped fund the theatre), denied that the play was about China, spouting pseudo-intellectual drivel about it only being a metaphor, and that it's actually an English play about English people; the not-so-sub-text being that no-one who looks like me can possibly be English even if born and raised here, absorbing the culture from birth and participating from first word, first picture, first dance, first song.

This disingenuous self-justification has generated widespread mockery.
"No offence was intended and none should be taken ... In the Depths of Dead Love is not a Chinese play and the characters are not Chinese. The production references a setting in Ancient China and the characters’ names are Chinese. These are literary allusions in Howard Barker’s fable and never intended to be taken literally. The allusions are intended to signify “not here, not now, not in any actual real ‘where’ ” and the production, set, costumes and dialogue follow this cue of ‘no place’." From the Print Room's statement

So now I am a mere metaphor: an unreal person from an unreal place. Window dressing for an unutterably dull and pompous exercise in bourgeois angst. His characters lead such drab and tedious lives that perhaps the only way they have to render themselves interesting to themselves, each other  and the audience is to get togged up in chinoiserie drag. This would be the only acceptable explanation but somehow we doubt it. Instead, the paucity of Barker's imagination has him reaching into strangers' lives and ripping the guts out of us.

Like lungfish caught in a rock pool when the tide goes out, Barker, his theatre company The Wrestling School and the Print Room have been washed up in some 1950s version of how British society functions, who is in and who gets excluded. In its more than six years existence, we find that only eight out of 130 actors working at the Print Room have been Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME). And yet, curiously, they tick the diversity box when it comes to Arts Council funding for their projects. As Clarissa Widya of Papergang Theatre observes, "They are a charity supposed 'to advance the arts for public benefit'. What does that say? Only willing to commit to diversity if someone else can pay for it?"

Howard Barker, our 'greatest living playwright' (according to some), made his reputation as a leftist, so his capitulation to reactionary racist practice is even more shocking. Greater self-love hath no man than this: that he throws what are commonly perceived as the weakest minorities under a bus for his career. If he has any character left I hope that in the wee small hours when there's only him and his conscience, he will think hard and deep about perpetuating yellowface practice and let us know what he's come up with.

There has been a flurry of activity and writing from people who care about our culture and our world, who see the arts as more than privileged rich whites raiding the ethnic dressing-up box for a bit of entertainment. From Facebook and Twitter to blogs and academics and the press, it's not only East Asians who are horrified by this backwards step.

I'll be compiling a chronology of this battle which some are calling The Orphan of Zhao II: This Time It's Personal.

To paraphrase Barker himself, "Howard, I have such a withering knowledge of your soul, its pitiful dimensions. It is smaller than an aspirin that fizzles in a glass. . ."

In the meantime, here's the first of several excellent pieces I'll be posting here, which Mr Barker would do well to read and digest.

Actor and writer Lucy Sheen writes:

FEATURE: IN THE DEPTHS OF DEAD LOVE – THE 2017 PLAY THAT SHOWS ‘YELLOWFACE’ LIVES ON IN THE MEDIA
LUCY SHEEN 17 DECEMBER 2016


In January, London UK Theatre goers and culture lovers will have the opportunity to see a theatre production done using Yellowface. In other words, audiences will see a play which is set in China, about Chinese people, performed by a cast of white actors – In The Depths Of Dead Love.
Copied from the Print Room’s website announcing their first production for 2017:
IN THE DEPTHS OF DEAD LOVE
by Howard Barker
Print Room at the Coronet presents a rare opportunity to see the World Premiere of a new play by “England’s greatest living dramatist.” The Times
Set in ancient China, In the Depths of Dead Love tells of a poet exiled from the Imperial Court and the favour of the Emperor, who scrapes a living by renting his peculiar property – a bottomless well – to aspiring suicides. Among these is a married couple who exert an appalling influence over him.

A play set in Imperial China. By one of the most renowned British playwrights. Cause for celebration, or it should be until you take a look at the cast.
Jane Bertish – Mrs. Hu
William Chubb – Lord Ghang
James Clyde – Chin
Stella Gonet – Lady Hasi
Great cast, but from the character names, I may be going out on a limb here, and guessing that these are East Asian people and not Foreign devils. Not, one single British East Asian actor as been cast.

In other words, ladies and gentlemen of the 21st century, on a UK stage in 2017, audiences will be present with a production that will be performed using the hideous, insulting, disrespectful and yes, racist practice of Yellowface. At a time when we really need to be nurturing and respecting each other, amidst the continued protestations from the creative industry, on how they do really respect and understand that diversity is key and that the lack of BAMEs on stage is something that must be redressed. The Print Room will be giving us a production in Yellowface to kick off the new year.

To be clear Yellowface is not just about actors who decided to change their physical facial appearance to ‘look more East Asian’. Yellowface is about casting decisions, the propagation of racist East Asian stereotypes, caricatures and constant whitewashing of culture which leaves no place for East Asians to be involved with or participate in the telling or retelling of stories and history that directly relates to them. By casting white actors in East Asian roles it continues the underlying inference that East Asians are not “good enough” to be cast. That there are not enough East Asian actors and even if they were their proficiency and professional skill is not as great as that of their white counterparts. We all know (Or should do) that this is not true.

After The Orphan of Zhao casting debacle back in 2013, with media headlines of “East Asain actors seek RSC apology over Orphan of Zhao casting” one would have hoped, and I thought that we had moved on from this deplorable and unacceptable practice.

Sugar-Coated Bullets of The Bourgeoise by Anders Lustgarten with a cast of NINE East Asians, is positive proof that in this day and age there is absolutely no need for any Theatre company, any production to participate in the practice of Yellowface.

The recent theatrical productions of, The Arrest of Ai Weiwei, Chimerica, The World of Extreme Happiness, You for Me and P’YONGYANG you cannot in all good faith tell me that Britain only has a handful of British East Asian actors, because it is obvious it has more and the number is growing.

If it was a new play set in ancient Africa, about the Kush (Nubians) or at Al Kurru (Sudan) would we even be talking about the cast being white? Or a new work about Ashoka, would it even be under consideration, to cast the piece using only white actors? The answer is a resounding NO.

It is not about censorship, who can write what or who can perform what. But about how we, as modern human beings, who understand the nuances of being. Identity, race and acceptance, how important to all of us this concepts and constructs are. How powerful visual reference are. If we were operating on a completely level playing field then the colour of an actor would not matter one jot. We would be seeing non-specific casting across the board. No one would bat an eyelid if Queen Victoria was played by a South Asian and Albert by a Black actor.

But we are not there, far from it. It is perfectly acceptable for a white actor to portray characters that are white, non-white and ethnically specific, but if an actor of colour is cast to portray a role that is outside of their ethnic roots it causes, more often than not “negative debate.” Equality, hardly.

Yet when it comes to the East Asians, time and time again such cultural sensitivity and awareness is not just lacking, but completely absent.

The tragedy is the thinking that is involved surrounding works that are about other British ethnicities such as Black, African, Caribbean and South Asian; never, or seldom seems to be applied in any measure whatsoever, when it comes to works that involve East Asia or East Asian themes and characters. If as a society we can apply such thinking and progressive understanding to other British minorities, why can’t this equality of thought and action be extended to British East Asians?

Why?

Are British East Asians so invisible? Do we as human beings mean so little that we literally have no place, in British society, in its culture? We are expected to contribute to all other levels of society, yet we are denied access to participate culturally?

Our shared histories and sacrifices are of so little consequence because the colour of our skin and the shape of our eyes are different?

Do we mean so little that, the wider British society feels, we don’t even merit the same considerations that are afforded or fellow British Minority Ethnics?

That we are, somehow will be less offended by Yellowface than a Black person would be by Blackface? I have been told on more than one occasion that Yellowface is not the same as Blacking up or Blackface. Well, let me tell you as British East Asian, Yellowface is every bit as insulting, demeaning, disrespectful and racist.

For a one-stop archive of events click on PRINT ROOM IN THE DEPTHS OF DEAD LOVE PROTEST CHRONOLOGY

Lucy Sheen: The 2017 play that shows Yellowface lives on
http://www.weareresonate.com/2016/12/feature-depths-dead-love-2017-play-shows-yellowface-lives-media/


Daniel York: Scenes from a Yellowface Execution

Playwright Jingan Young, South China Morning Post: London storm turns spotlight on ‘whitewashing’ in film and theatre

Dr Amanda Rogers: Yellowface alive and well at the Print Room

Actor Erin Quill 16.01.17: In the Depths of British Theatrical Racism @the_printroom

Actor David Lee Jones, Nee Hao magazine 19.12.16: Why is it not acceptable to cast white actors to play Chinese characters on stage or on screen?

Actor Vera Chok 14.01.16: More thoughts on the Print Room

Brian Law on Facebook 18.01.17: So I went to see the play tonight ...

Howard Sherman, The Stage: Yellowface is wrong and the Print Room's explanation is meaningless

Lyn Gardner, the Guardian: Theatre is coming to terms with its diversity problem. Real progress is vital

Wealth brings power, the power to open a theatre in London's Notting Hill, the power to define human beings as worthy or not of inclusion, of defining whether or not we are English. Rich white women in need of a hobby get to do that to us because they are married to bankers, specifically, senior bankers in JP Morgan during the Iraq War era of wealth extraction and paying Tony Blair £2-3 million pa. These are our rulers in our post-truth new world.

Facebook: Protest Against Yellowface Casting at the Print Room

Director Andrew Keates: letter to the Print Room's artistic director ... It is no more acceptable today asking a Caucasian actor to play an East Asian role than asking another actor to play Othello by handing him a tin of boot polish. Simply put, it’s morally reprehensible.
I ask you as Artistic Director to consider meeting with the creative team of In The Depths Of Dead Love immediately and ask them to reconsider this disgusting and bigoted casting or that you pull the production from your programme until they are able to satisfy its casting requirements without detriment to East Asian actors in London.


Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out: There's going to be an anti-racism protest tomorrow over a fringe play in Notting Hill

The Stage 20.12.16: Equity adds voice to condemnation of Print Room ‘yellowface’ casting ... Equity general secretary Christine Payne also criticised the theatre's response of accusations against it, adding: "The Print Room’s statement is completely unacceptable on a number of levels, not least of which is the suggestion that an 'English' play must be completely white.”

What's On Stage 21.12.16: The Print Room apologises for 'any offence caused' in yellowface dispute (but only makes it worse)

The Stage 13.01.17: Print Room "artistic" director describes our protestations as a "social media attack" proving Mrs Hedge Fund couldn't give a flying one.

Grumpy Gay Critic 04.01.17: Yellowface and ‘In The Depths of Dead Love’. What Next? An Action Plan For Diverse Theatre Casting. The Print Room’s casting for In the Depths of Dead Love is a disgrace, and we’re certainly angry. But how can we move towards genuine change?

Cohan Chew at We Are Resonate 19.01.17: ‘Yellowface’ protest against the Print Room for casting white actors in Chinese roles to be held today

Alice Jones fast off the block in the Independent iNews 19.01.17: Howard Barker and the curious case of the Chinese play with the all-white cast “It is, in fact a very ‘English’ play and is derived from thoroughly English mores and simply references the mythic and the ancient. It has therefore been cast accordingly.” Ah, I see, English roles for English people because all English people are white. What a bone-headed thing to write in 2017, when the British theatre has a large pool of East Asian talent to draw on. Just look at the cast of the brilliant, 2013 smash-hit Chimerica. As Harry Potter actress Katie Leung put it “We are here. We exist.”

Evening Standard 19.01.17: Notting Hill theatre faces 'yellowface' protest for casting white actors in Chinese roles

Let's hope Print Room "artistic director" Anda Winters never joins the diplomatic corps. The Stage 19.01.17: Print Room turns on Equity in ‘yellowface’ casting row

Rage Offstage 18.01.17: The Yellowface is Bad Enough, now we have the whitewash

Two stars from Mersa Auda in The Up Coming 20.01.17: In the Depths of Dead Love at the Print Room at the Coronet ... Admittedly, there are some interesting concepts and a few moments that engage the audience, but there is no doubt that the most memorable and relevant aspect of the play is the controversy it caused rather than its content or delivery.

A compete non sequitur and strawman argument in The Daily Telegraph 20.01.17. Who has demanded that the play shouldn't exist? No-one.: Play at centre of 'yellowface' row is insubstantial, not inexcusable - In the Depths of Dead Love review

Sam Marlowe in The Times gives it two stars 20.01.17: The controversial Howard Barker play is far from worthless, but keeps its audience at a chilly distance Controversy over Howard Barker’s new play kicked off before this production even opened — so much so, that it almost gave a whole new meaning to Barker’s term for his own work, Theatre of Catastrophe. Broadcast on BBC radio in 2013, it’s set in ancient China; Gerrard McArthur’s stage premiere features an all-white cast. This has drawn furious condemnation and justifiably so: while the piece is broadly allegorical, it does lazily appropriate a vague Eastern exoticism as a means of denoting otherness. ...

Mark Lawson, however, earns his keep by insulating the elite from society. In his uncritical interview with "Britain's greatest living playwright" he fails to pursue interesting threads such as why is Howard Barker taking Iraq War JP Morgan money? Why does Barker express such contempt for messages when his own is clear — white domination excluding East Asians such as myself from our own English heritage is somehow artistically heroic. Guardian 20.01.17: Howard Barker: 'I have contempt for messages in plays. I'm not trying to influence anyone'

The Stage 20.01.17: Howard Barker defends Print Room casting from ‘yellowface’ criticisms “The ‘Chinese’ nature of the play is within the setting, which is entirely artificial, and the naming of the characters. It’s entirely European in its sensibilities. I’ve only very rarely ever set a play in my own culture – there’s always a distancing effect,” he said. And added: “You have to understand metaphors. The theatre isn’t a place for literalness. We have to accept that anyone from any place or culture can play any role,” he said in an interview in which he went on to claim he had “contempt” for plays that have messages. “Look, the reason I’m a writer is that I don’t involved myself in political and ideological issues. I’m the opposite of writers who enter the theatre to persuade people of their attitudes. It’s not what I do,” he said. In the interview, Barker also criticised Arts Council England, labelling it “preposterous” and something that belongs “in the Soviet era”. “It’s not really interested in art, it’s interested in sociological benefits,” he added....

Daniel York on finding himself in a Pete and Dud sketch in The Stage 20.01.17: The night I was spat at for protesting ‘yellowface’ ... One senior female theatre industry figure, wearing a rather impressive-looking fur coat, stormed across the street to berate the protestors as “racist”. The entire incident was captured on a camera phone though I must confess, even watching back now, I struggle to follow the thread of her somewhat surreal argument, but it appears to be something along the lines of “Equity has said it’s racist for Asian actors to play Asian roles”. I’m pretty sure Equity has said no such thing but does that mean we get the whole of Downton when they give in and make another series? ... Another couple stormed by and yelled a bunch of expletives at us. I went after them to enquire whether they wanted to have a conversation. The man screamed at me “You’re a c***!” with rather more vehemence than one should ever show a complete stranger. I asked him why I was a “c***”. “Because you’re a c***!” I asked him why again. “Because you’re a c*** because I say you’re a c***, because you’re a c*** because I say you’re a c***. You’re a c***!”. ...

Even the Daily Mail senses something is up 21.01.17: Humans star Gemma Chan joins 'yellowface' protest outside premiere of play where WHITE actors were cast in CHINESE roles

Some of the assumptions being made reveal unconscious prejudices that we are somehow incomplete Xeroxs of human beings and unable to engage fully and intelligently with the issues. Kate Maltby writes in the New Statesman that none of us have read or seen the play whereas I've read it, Daniel York has read it, Dr Amanda Rogers and a slew of others have read it and we've all been discussing it; plus Brian Law and a clutch of others saw it prior to and on press night. [I understand that Maltby has now corrected this claim.] I wouldn't go calling us a "model" protest, either. But we shouldn't let that detract from the article's revelation that, in best Charles Foster Kane tradition, Anda and Bill Winters starred their daughter in the "atrocious" The Tempest. Iraq War money and nepotism — poor kid. 20.01.17: The Print Room’s “Yellowface” scandal reveals deeper problems with British theatre

FURTHER READING ON CROSS-RACIAL CASTING

Donna Dickens makes an idiot-proof argument at UPROXX: Casting minorities as white characters is not a double standard. Here’s why.

The Daily Dot: 7 reasons why reverse racism doesn't exist

The Huffington Post: 4 ‘Reverse Racism’ Myths That Need To Stop

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