Protecting Racism in Theatre

Lucy Sheen aka 4gottenadoptee:

“If Kennicott and his ilk believe it is so important to perform these works as written in order to preserve them as a window into our past (“the history embodied in our canon”), where are the castrati? Why do we no longer perform Shakespeare with adult men in the male roles and underage boys in the women’s roles? ”
This article deserves to be read and passed on

Originally posted on Bitter Gertrude:

Yes, I am still talking about this, despite some truly delightful comments and emails requesting that I stop draining all the fun out of life. (One woman, who said, and I quote, that she would like to punch me in the face, was relieved that I didn’t cast her local production of The King and I, as I would have unfairly deprived her of her favorite role, Lady Thiang, due to my ridiculous stance against yellowface.) The title of Mike Lew’s brilliant HowlRound article, “I’ll Disband My Roving Gang of Thirty Asian Playwrights When You Stop Doing Asian Plays in Yellow Face,” says it all. Privilege goes down hard, and it goes down swinging, and it goes down all the while claiming the right to do, ahem, whatever the fuck it wants.

One of the things privilege wants, and wants badly, is the continued ability to protect racism in performance. Mike…

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Adoption Therapy – now available on line from Amazon

51hqdGnN1aL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_Adoption Therapy

A much-needed anthology addressing a variety of potential psychological and physiological concerns, Adoption Therapy, Perspectives from Clients and Clinicians on Processing and Healing Post-Adoption Issues is a must-read for adoptees, adoptive parents, first families, and vitally, mental health professionals.
With writing by adoptees, adoptive parents, and clinicians, Adoption Therapy is a first-of-its-kind and wholly unique reference book, providing insight, advice, and personal stories which highlight the specific nature of the adoptee experience.
Topics Include:
• The psychological dangers in leaving trauma and grief buried and unaddressed
• The importance of community in healing the wounds of separation
• Understanding the physical and psychological effects of transracial adoption
• Attachment—including the inability to attach, inappropriate attachment, and the myth of Reactive Attachment Disorder
• Conception by rape: an adoptee speaks out
• Co-dependency, intimacy, and creating closeness
• The life-long effects of pre- and perinatal trauma
• Processing complex trauma, complex grief, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Specific concerns for Late Discovery Adoptees
• The relationship among trauma, anger and rage, and substance abuse
• For adoptive parents and adoptees: red flags when working with a therapist

Authors: Corie Skoinick, Karen Caffrey, Melissa Konos, Kristi Kodo, Lori Holden, Karen Belanger, Laura Denis, Lucy Chau Lai-Tuen,

I am one of the contributing authors


I was in the middle of re-working an article about adoption/transracial adoption and the seeming cultural arrogance surrounding this type of intervention.
But Hong Kong weighs heavily on my mind and in my heart.

Students doing their homework in Hong Kong's street protest

Students doing their homework in Hong Kong’s street protest


I left Hong Kong in the early 60s on a BOAC plane bound for London airport having been put up for adoption.
It would be almost twenty years before I set foot on Hong Kong soil again. I was brought up to be English. I found rejection amongst many in the, then closed British-Chinese community during the seventies, eighties and even in the nineties as I was growing up. They viewed me with suspicion, what was I? I couldn’t speak Cantonese and I knew next to nothing (then) about Chinese culture or etiquette. As for the British who had adopted I found just as much rejection and suspicion, probably more. So why do I have such strong feelings for Hong Kong. Why does my stomach tighten and slowly become its own tourniquet? Why as I watch the outside broadcastings, video reports and smart-phone videos on social media, why does my mind keep going back to Tiananmen Square in June 1989?

Thousands of students from local colleges and universities march to Tiananmen Square, Beijing, on May 4, 1989, to demonstrate for government reform. (AP Photo/Mikami)

Thousands of students from local colleges and universities march to Tiananmen Square, Beijing, on May 4, 1989, to demonstrate for government reform. (AP Photo/Mikami)


Protesters block the main street to the financial Central district, outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, September 29, 2014. (Reuters / Carlos Barria)

I suppose it was during the build up to the Tiananmen Square massacre that I found my true cultural soul. The one that had been hidden, the one that I had lost all those years ago and it didn’t matter that I couldn’t speak Cantonese or Mandarin. It didn’t matter that I had not be brought up in the culture of my birth. What mattered was what I was prepared to stand up for. What I as prepared to protest about. Those that ridiculed me for not having an accent and those that took the proverbial out of me for being “English” those people no longer mattered.
As I argued with friends and acquaintances in a Chinese restaurant two nights before the massacre, it was simple. The things that made me “Chinese,” “East Asian,” call it what you will wasn’t the language, wasn’t the culture, but what was in my heart, mind and “soul.”
Languages can be learnt, culture can be taught and understood. But what you as an individual feel and connect with, are emotionally bound to, are I believe hard-wired into your dna. The fact that I was prepared to stand up and  support those demonstrating in Tiananmen Square by protesting outside the Chinese embassy and marching through China Town made me as East Asian as the next person. Many of the East Asians sat around that table took the attitude, that what was happening in mainland China in Tiananmen Square, had nothing to do with them. So why should they bother getting involved. That shocked me. I wonder, how those people who were sat around that table twenty-five years ago, feel now? As the world focusses its lenses and media this time, not on Tiananmen Square, but on Hong Kong, former British colony and now Special Administrative Region of China.
I am 9,565 km from Hong Kong but my heart is there. It is with the students and all those who are peacefully protesting.
I wonder, I fear, I hope.

SEA Arts Fest Scratch October 17th

Folks an extract from my play Conversations With My Unknown Mother is being presented at the SEA Arts Fest Scratch
October 17th tickets now on sale and only £4.00 for an entire evening of exciting new work from Southeast Asian and East Asian artists.

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Please come along and support what is bound to be an exciting and varied evening of theatre –  look forward to seeing you in the bar afterwards :)