Review – More Light, Arcola Theatre

Tuesday 26 May 2009

More Light

Ostensibly because they know so many people (but in fact because they increasingly struggle to dredge up names) the Whingers have evolved a language to aid conversation.

For example: to be clear which Paul is under discussion one refers either to “Toaster Paul” (who won a toaster at the first West End Whingers party) or to “Salad Spinner Paul” (can’t remember quite why now).

So it was a shame that Phil (“Anal Phil” due to his neurotic fastidiousness vis a vis hygiene in particular and life in general) was unable to make Bryony Lavery‘s More Light at the Arcola because the main characters are all named according to a similar schema: Moist Moss, Playful Kitten, Love Mouth and so on.

So it was left to Andrew (“Fading Grasp”)  to venture yet again to the urban wilds of Hackney to the Arcola to see this very well received curiosity. Thankfully he was not alone, having “More Beer” and “Hurting Tummy” in tow to keep him company.

Anyway. Picture it:



The Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi dies.

Entombed in his vast underground necropolis with his body are his terracotta army, the cleverest of his advisors and his concubines. Alive.

More Light Catrina Lear and Phil McGinleyIt is the tale of these seven women from the moment of their incarceration to their death that forms the play’s narrative and what a charming, engaging, playful and short (one hour!) journey it is.

It is also rather gruesome as the women embrace cannibalism and murder to prolong their survival.

Even more shockingly, there is even some origami in it which – as far as Andrew can recall – is a theatrical first for him.

Full marks to Catrina Lear who not only plays the paper-folding principal character and narrator “More Light” (left, with Coronation Street‘s Phil McGinley as “Man”). She also directs and with a lightness of touch and a self-consciousness which magically makes all the drama school business (choral speaking, sound effects, mime, those sorts of thing) not only bearable but positively enjoyable.   A minimal set (two admittedly very grand doors) and some atmospheric lighting conjure up the tomb very convincingly.

All the performances were enchanting but our favourite character of the evening turned out to be “Hopeless Usher” whose admittance of a latecomer and subsequent ushering to a seat in the middle of the row almost stole the show.

Again, the West End Whingers curse the Arcola for being in Hackney and putting on interesting, compelling, high quality things which cannot be overlooked. This closes on Saturday (30th May).

More Light 2


Congratulations also to co-producer Jasper Britton (“Nagging Emailer”) for persuading at least one of the Whingers to turn up.


30 Responses to “Review – More Light, Arcola Theatre”

  1. Gladys Ong Says:

    Irrespective of the play or performances, why, in any of the recent reviews of More Light at The Arcola, do none of the mainstream critics (Lyn Gardner, Fiona Mountford, Sam Marlowe) question why there isn’t a single East Asian actor playing a Chinese role in this play set in China?

    Imagine the outcry if a Black or South Asian play had white actors blacked or browned up today. One had hoped that the age of the Black and White Minstrels, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and Fu Manchu era was over.

    Given the Arts Council’s efforts in promoting diversity, eg. through the decibel initiative, and Yellow Earth Theatre’s excellent track record of showcasing quality British East Asian actors over the last 14 years, this “Yellow Face” casting (white actors wearing offensive “yellow” make-up) is a blatant, institutionally racist oversight that is totally unacceptable in 21st century British theatre.

    The practice of “Yellow Face” is no longer tolerated in the USA. It’s time that all British theatre artists – and some ignorant critics – in this sometimes backward, provincial little country of ours caught up, particularly with the aspirations of London 2012 coming up. How can we possibly greet the rest of the world with our Cultural Olympiad’s values of “unique internationalism, cultural diversity, sharing and understanding” when some of our own artists and critics are still living in the dark ages?

  2. Thunder Says:

    I don’t understand why you are so outraged…It’s not a “Chinese” play. The women are not wearing “yellowfaces” or trying to be Chinese. Are you thinking of the kind of thing that Mickey Rooney did in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? If so, I think you should see this play, and reassess your attack. It’s a play written by an English White Feminist playwright for absolutely anyone to perform. You are perfectly at liberty to mount your own production, I suppose, and cast it in any way you like, with any “race” or “races” you choose.

  3. knight Says:

    I don’t understand why you are so outraged either. If you knew the play remotely you would understand that it deals largely with art and artifice. Casting white actors I think intentionally heightens the theatricality of the piece.

  4. Again, the West End Whingers curse the Arcola for being in Hackney

    Here you go again with your whining on Hackney, I live there remember and you could have asked me to meet up with you for a drink! I am so offended!


  5. Ian Shuttleworth Says:

    How dare the Arcola engage in colour-blind casting!

  6. JohnnyFox Says:

    I’ve been to’t them there Terracotta Warriors (they were playing Tranmere Rovers) and they don’t look a bit like Moping Tom from Corrie.

  7. The Arcola is excellently situated for the best Turkish restaurants in London. After imagining it was difficult to reach because the Tube doesn’t go there, I have discovered it is in fact several good bus routes. I quite like the unallocated seating which allows one to see the two halves of a play from different vantage points.

    • Lynne Says:

      Must agree that despite seeming far away in public transport terms the buses are excellent. I’ve been a regular since 2001 travelling from Surbiton and I can pretty much guarantee getting home in about one hour which is impressive by any stretch of the imagination given the distances involved.
      Still debating which is faster to Waterloo – the 76 or 243?

  8. sandown Says:

    On the only occasion I have visited the Arcola, and with the starting-time not being printed on the brochure, I asked the management why the play was going up at 8.00 p.m instead of the usual 7.30 p.m. The reply was: “Because it takes our audience that much longer to get here.”

    From which I inferred that the Arcola’s audience was not exactly living round the corner.

    In fact, there is a convenient overground train to Dalston from Highbury & Islington, which doubtless delivers their audience practically door to door.

  9. Racism…it’s a play. Get over yourself!

    Ms Ong brings up a very good reason for not living in the USA they may not agree with made up yellow faces but they haven’t made much progress on children murdering other children at school.
    According to that level of pc we have to have a Dane playing Hamlet? A Jew or would it be Arab to play Jesus? As a child I was taught that you can’t be offended unless you wish to be.

    The play was a delight, entertaining, funny poignant, thought provoking and however moved I was by it I still got the number 234 bus back to Waterloo. After all it was only a play.

  10. Gladys Ong Says:

    Hey whingers – expand your minds:

    The debate has finished + everyone is happily reconciled

    • Ian Shuttleworth Says:

      “The debate has finished + everyone is happily reconciled” – …writes someone who seems not to have looked at others’ comments subsequent to their own final pronouncement…

  11. সুবিনয় মুস্তফী Says:

    Glad this piece is suddenly receiving a LOT more notice.. kudos again to the Arcola management for taking such brave chances, they are a vital cog in this city’s culture wheel.. all interested should read Catrina Lear’s powerful testimony in the Guardian blog post linked above.. below is my humble take 🙂

    • Daniel York Says:

      outright contempt displayed when anyone dares question the use of a “yellowface” all caucasian cast most interesting. The fact of the matter is this-if a white actor “blacked up” to play Othello there’d be an outcry. If a theatre company was to present a play about African women with an all Caucasian cast, again, there’d be an outcry. People are very quick to defend the rights of black actors (rightly so) but when it comes to other, less “hip”, ethnic minorities they sneer-it was exactly the same when Asian American actors protested about Jonothan Pryce’s false eyelids in Miss Saigon. In this day and age it still seems okay to bully the “little yellow people” around. It’s all very well to argue that it’s not a “realistic” portrayal of China but the fact is that East Asians are continually marginlaised by the mainstream media in this country and this is another example where an opportunity is being denied someone from that background. I’m afraid the kind of “colour blind casting” we’d all like to see only really works one way as far as East Asians are concerned. People may well ask if it would be considered wrong in an East Asian country to present Shakespeare with no white actors-my answer to that is that if the East Asian country in question had as diverse a population and acting community as Britain does then, yes, of course, that would be unnacceptable. I was in Singapore recently and was pleasantly surprised to see a large number of “Westerners” starting to make their mark in the local entertainment scene. I’m not suggesting that Catrina Lear is guilty of any kind of malicious racism. As a small scale theatre company they should be supported and I take my hat off to her on what sounds like a very interesting piece. Unfortunately it’s just a little indicative of a generally short sighted and blinkered approach too often displayed by theatre companies in Britain and what’s even more dissapointing is some of the responses above. There are very few opportunities for East Asians to work in the entertainment industry in this country beyond playing the odd (but rare) badly written stereotype on TV. And that’s, to me, what this is all about. It’s not about believability. It’s not about political correctness. It’s about Equal Opportunities and the chance for an East Asian actress to to engage with a writer as good as Bryony Lavery. And that doesn’t deserve to be sneered at.

  12. Daniel York Says:


    • Daniel York Says:

      If you’d read my post carefully you might have noticed I was very careful not to criticse the actual production at all. Catrina and her team have clearly worked extremely hard for little or no finacial reward and they should be supported. I also think that marginalised ethnic minorities should be supported too. When was the last time you saw an East Asian face on stage in London? It’s just a shame when an opportunity for artistes of East Asian extraction to be seen is ignored. And it’s the upteenth time it’s happened-usually under the spurious argument that it’s “not a realistic portrayal”. Well, is Othello a “realistic” protrayal of a black man? Emporer Jones? Helen, I’m glad the production gave you such pleasure but it begs the question-would your enjoyment of the production have been marred by the sight of a genuine East Asian face?

  13. Nick Plumb Says:

    Dear Gladys

    Is it possible that you may have over-reacted just a bit?

    Here is a struggling director, Katrina Lear,who has her first opportunity to cut her teeth on a challenging production and who, I am sure, had no intention of being racist at all.

    No-one is perfect and we learn from our mistakes (if this is what you deem this to be).

    In the words of Confucius “The superior man develops people’s good points, not their bad points. The inferior man the opposite.”

    If we are tolerant we are not racist – how about a bit of tolerance?

    • Madam Miaow Says:

      Well, Helen, I did see it and it was even worse than described with cartoon vocal noises (try doing the equivalent with black people!), stupid anachronisms, and insulting stereotypes. And now smug white theatricals don’t like being called on it. Keep us in our place, why don’t you?

      If it’s not meant to be Chinese, set it on Planet Zog or in some other fantasy realm.

      And, no, “superior” Nick, we should never be tolerant of racism. If you want to learn from your mistakes, try listening to what Chinese people are saying instead of shooting us down.

  14. Thunder Says:

    Gladys and Madam Miaow (a handle which is catty, frankly) you are shooting yourselves down. It’s no good WHINGEING on the whinger’s website. Sorry you feel marginalised, I don’t believe you are actually BEING marginalised. Keith above is right, you CHOOSE to be offended. It’s the easy option. You are taking a victim stance.

    “yellowface” is defined on the web as

    “Yellowface is the practice in cinema, theatre, and television where East Asian characters are portrayed by predominantly white actors, often while wearing heavy makeup in order to approximate “Asian” or “Oriental” facial characteristics.”

    Facial characteristics and heavy makeup being the key here. There were no false eyelids, no Heavy makeup, no altering of physical prosthetic features in order to imitate or approximate an Asian face. None of the actors were attempting to sound Chinese or Asian or Oriental in any way, shape or form. One actress is German, another Scottish. Both spoke in their natural accents. The problem with political correctness is that it gives you permission to play the racist card instead of getting out there and in amongst it. Do an Oriental version of Macbeth, King Lear, Othello! Come on, are you theatre practitioners or by-standers who are hard done by? The world isn’t “fair”, the arts world isn’t “fair”, the Theatre isn’t, nor god forbid it ever should be, “fair”. You need to get out there and de-marginalise yourselves instead of shouting from the sidelines about how shit it all is. The play that Bryony wrote was written for ANYONE to perform, hence the mix and match cultural references, so why didn’t YOU do it? Your ranting smacks of jealousy. You aren’t going to change the world by shitting on other people’s hard work. Do some yourself, stop playing the complacent racist card. We’ll all say yes, isn’t terrible, because we’ve been co-erced into “respecting” everyone’s “rights” and so forth, but genuinely, no one really gives a fuck, no matter how much everyone posts their support. You have to be IN it to WIN it. Your argument is bullshit. Political correctness is bullshit, in art. It has no place. You will get nowhere posting all this crap other than satisfaction at seeing your own opinions in print on a computer screen. I speak as one who fought, fought, mark you, against my own disability in order to become an actor. When I started my profession no one would take me on because I didn’t walk “properly”. That was 20 years ago. Now, there are quotas to do with how many disabled people drama schools take on. If I were starting NOW, they’d be falling over their arses to take me on. The reality is that in the real world the Arts Council will not fund a show without a quota of “marginalised” performers, REGARDLESS of their actual ability to do their job better than anyone else, or whether a black actor can be believed to be the father of a white actor. Colourblind casting. It doesn’t happen in the movies because the movies is a law unto itself, and the law there is money. You will never beat Mamon. Theatre is poverty so they are bending over backwards to accommodate you. Don’t fuck about. Don’t shit on your own doorstep. Engage. Connect. Support your fellow artists. Theatre is NOT about us versus them, leave that to the critics. Unite, consolidate, share. Please?

  15. Madam Miaow Says:

    Oh, god. Is this still going on?

    OK, WE Whingers. Deep breath …

    “None of the actors were attempting to sound Chinese or Asian or Oriental in any way, shape or form.”

    Apart from the cartoon chop-socky “Ay-ees” punctuating the piece every time our gals trotted off into the other chamber. Oh, and the mock oriental names. And the chopsticks. And the setting. And the history. Apart from that, no, you’re right.

    “There were no false eyelids, no Heavy makeup, no altering of physical prosthetic features in order to imitate or approximate an Asian face.”

    Just white geisha-style make-up, black slanty eye-liner, and flower-bud lips. Never mind the kimonos (arf!), bound feet, fans and other accoutrements associated with the exotic orient.

    “One actress is German, another Scottish. Both spoke in their natural accents.”

    But overall giving the impression (I have no knowledge of their actual background) that these were posh white gals who, according to Lynn Gardner, were supposed to represent universal womanhood or some such flummery. In which case I would have been happy to see an East Asian, a South Asian and a Black woman in there, and anyone else who could help lend “universal” range.

    “The problem with political correctness is that it gives you permission to play the racist card instead of getting out there and in amongst it.”

    The problem with the promiscuous use of the term “political correctness” is that it’s a Get-Out-Of-Gaol-Free card for those who wish to close down debate.

    “Colourblind casting. ”

    … I think it would be a good idea.

    “Keith above is right, you CHOOSE to be offended. It’s the easy option. You are taking a victim stance.”

    How nice of you to put me right. That’s told me.

    Anyhow, I was touched by Catrina’s reply in the Guardian and I think it’s a shame that young actors are emerging into a culture that seems to be shrinking, where people who should know better are forgetting that there’s a whole world out there, as wide as our imaginations and not solely Europe. I’m just sorry that they walked into a minefield.

  16. Thunder Says:

    You started it, chum. So you don’t get to call when it’s over as well. As expected your response is no response at all. So, deep breath.
    Read the script. “aieee” is what is written. Why is that Asian? Do you all say aiee a lot then? As well as ah-so, obviously. How are the names mock oriental please? More Light, Many Treasures, Little Friend etc. This is all in the script. So no non Asian performer is allowed to use chopsticks? So lets never see you using knives and forks then. I think the point about the cross cultural references is that it gets us away from specifics, it is a work of imagination, it’s a play for god’s sake, not a documentary about china, Asia, it’s theatre, yes? Where people pretend to be all sorts of things. Who gave you the right of moral authority over other people’s imagination? How was the setting oriental other than the red silk lanterns? I believe the early production of the play used hurricane lamps. Fire regs wouldn’t permit them at the arcola. But why should red silk lanterns be yellowface or racist? Please explain. The play refers to ceremonial makeup. It is in the writing, bryony lavery’s words. So perhaps you are suggesting that the playwright is racist? The actors did not, repeat NOT have slanty eyed eyeliner. They wore lots of eyeliner, granted, but there was no attempt to appear Asian. Look at the pictures on the web. Kimono, yes, but it does not constitute yellowface, does it? Or minstrel show? Was Tom Cruise yellowface/racist/inappropriate in your opinion in the Last Samurai? If so then I protest at Asian people wearing western clothes! Foot bindings were worn as per script, fans…. Come on. Fans are not exclusively oriental accoutrements, are they? Posh White girls?? What’s this really about? Class war? That’s just insulting, and your own opinion, keep to the facts, no need to be catty and bitchy is there? I think anyone is allowed to represent universal figures, flummery or not. White women should be permitted to represent all women of the world, as should Asian women, without fear of ridicule or accusation. Not to do so is reductive and censoring.
    Overuse of the term political correctness may well be used by some to close down debate, but not by me. You sidestep the issue, conveniently, well done. You closed the debate very neatly. Colourblind casting IS a good idea. But sometimes, in practice, it is confusing and ridiculous in that it gets in the way of assisting the audience’s suspension of disbelief. Being pc takes precedence over making sense of a story. Not great. Ok, but not great. And yes, I did tell you, you look like a victim. Poor me! Poor us Asians all fucked over. No. Get out there and do it. Don’t whinge about it. If you want to be an actor you have to fight for it. Sorry but just cos you’re Asian doesn’t mean you get extra privileges. But you aren’t interested in that debate, clearly, as you just sidestepped it like all the other things you don’t care to debate in my response, you just sound off again with all the tired old accusations, trotting them out, one by one. Boring. They didn’t walk into a minefield, you made it that with your bogus and probably actionable rants and accusations. Catrina Lear bent over backwards to heal your wounds and possibly went too far. She has every right to be proud of her widely admired work, and every right not to be bullied and intimidated into apologising for herself and her artistic choices. If you’re tired of this thing you started, then don’t reply. Ain’t no need to take any deep breaths at all, just walk away if you’re so bored by it all now, but don’t try and contain my right to reply to the hornets’ nest you threw about the web. You’re pretty free at dishing it out, so respect others rights to respond. You’ve had your fun and got more of yourself onto the net, well done. Just how many websites have you got, dedicated to the greater glory of you,
    exactly? At least three it looks like. I agree that one doesn’t often see an oriental actor on tv or on stage, and I have absolutely no opposition to seeing many many more. Great! Fine! Hurrah! But all your bitching doesn’t make you more attractive a proposition. It gives an impression of bolshy moaners, resentful with an agenda. Put yourself in a casting director’s/producer’s/director’s shoes and think about who you’d want to work with and why. And who you wouldn’t and why. What I’m saying and you’re ignoring is that instead of yelling from the sidelines about being ignored, make yourself, yourselves, present, lead from the front, set an example, direct, produce, show us rich posh White fuckwits how wonderful you are. Be proactive not passive aggressive. Or perhaps that’s too much like hard work and you’re more comfortable in your sneering role of people’s poet, hmmmm?


  17. Madam Miaow Says:

    “You started it, chum.”

    Au contraire, Thunder. I do believe I was number 19 to make a comment. And then had the courtesy to reply to you.

  18. Gladys Ong Says:

    Thunder, pls tone down yr aggression and try to listen more.

    Your plea to “Unite, consolidate, share” is positive and I’m sure is shared by all the British East Asian ppl who have contributed here. Their POV’s are vital in this sometimes monolithic culture of ours, and FYI, they’re all hard-working professionals who have tried to change the system from within, so that everyone – including disabled, white working class, LGBT, women, BME – feels that we live and work in an open, progressive, inclusive society rather than Little Britain. Somewhere we can all feel proud and call home.

  19. Daniel York Says:

    Thunder-“ Sorry you feel marginalised, I don’t believe you are actually BEING marginalised.”
    “The world isn’t “fair”, the arts world isn’t “fair”, the Theatre isn’t, nor god forbid it ever should be, “fair”.”
    So are we not marginalized? Or are you saying we are marginalized, and that it’s not fair but that’s just tough? Like a lot of your post it lacks any real coherence.
    “Do an Oriental version of Macbeth, King Lear, Othello! Come on, are you theatre practitioners or by-standers who are hard done by?”
    I’m not sure what you mean by an “Oriental version” but to my knowledge there have been two Chinese themed Shakespeare productions in the past-Romeo & Juliet (Mu-lan & Basingstoke Haymarket co-production) and King Lear (Yellow Earth/Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, played in the Complete Works season at Straford)-both of which I was heavily involved with. There was also a Japan set schools production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at Southwark Playhouse recently and, a long time ago, Mark Rylance directed The Changeling set in a Chinese take away. You probably never heard about any of these because….we’re a little bit marginalized. But I don’t get what you’re saying. I understand the basic tenet “stop whinging and get out there and do it” but it does smack a little of “why don’t you little yellow people do your own play?” Isn’t that further marginalisation? Thunder, I’m not using a handle, you can google me if you like, I’ll even send you my CV, I think I’ve taken “ghetto theatre” about as far as I possibly can and would now like to actually join the theatrical mainstream. Is that a problem?
    “Your argument is bullshit. Political correctness is bullshit, in art.”
    Yeah, it probably is-as someone who is half Chinese and spends his whole being told “you don’t look Chinese enough” I’m not a big fan of political correctness. But it sure beats negative discrimination. Also, if “the world isn’t “fair”, the arts world isn’t “fair”, the Theatre isn’t, nor god forbid it ever should be, “fair”.” And people should stop whinging and “get out there and do it” why are you whinging about political correctness?
    “The reality is that in the real world the Arts Council will not fund a show without a quota of “marginalised” performers, REGARDLESS of their actual ability to do their job better than anyone else, or whether a black actor can be believed to be the father of a white actor.”
    Do I detect some of the jealousy you so decry in others?
    “they are bending over backwards to accommodate you.”
    Whilst I cannot deny there are plenty of non deserving recipients of Arts Council grants (including one or two East Asians), the idea that “they” are bending over backwards to give anyone money is farcical and smacks of a Daily Mail rant (“you bloody foreigners taking all our jobs/council houses/arts council grants etc.”). I’d love to see the actual figures but I strongly suspect that the vast majority of Arts Council money is still given to organisations run by white Oxbridge graduates.
    I’m truly sorry you had such a hard time getting into drama school and that really shouldn’t be the case. However you seem to advocate a return to the good old days when our stages were populated by nice middle class white boys and girls who often got the jobs “REGARDLESS of their actual ability to do their job better than anyone else”. I did a play last year. One night a woman introduced her half Chinese son to me and said “he wants to be an actor, tell him he shouldn’t, all he’ll ever play is Eurasians and how many of them do you see? It must be so hard for you”. I had to admit that, yes, it is hard but one should always persevere, after all “you have to be IN it to WIN it”. The difference between you and I, Thunder, is that I actually want things to be better for the next generation, your attitude seems to be “I had it hard, so should you”. Again, and it pains me to say this, it does smack of a certain bitterness and jealousy.
    “Support your fellow artists. Theatre is NOT about us versus them, leave that to the critics. Unite, consolidate, share.”
    Great. Why don’t you then? Instead of banging people down and telling them “no one really gives a fuck”. How constructive.
    One final thing. I’ve seen pictures of the girls in More Light. I’m sorry, and I’m sure they worked really hard for very little money and in an ideal world none of this would be an issue, but they do look like they’re trying be East Asian. I’m not offended. I just think it’s a shame when opportunities to broaden, expand and include aren’t taken. The only really offensive thing is the reactions of people like yourself. I said it before and I’ll say it again. It would never happen today if that play had been about African women.
    Now, I’ve got 2 scripts to work on and you’ve taken up too much of my day already.

  20. Gladys Ong Says:

    The More Light issue is indicative of the struggle we SE-Asians face in the UK media.

    A song by Lily Allen, “Chinese” has been brought to my attention, which includes the line “We’ll get a Chinese and watch TV”.

    The usage of the term “Chinese” to stand for food is the type of insidious racism that is tolerated in the UK – precisely because this casual usage goes unchallenged. “We must get a German”, would refer to a German person, for instance, not to a kind of meal.

    We must ensure this practice stops and I call upon all Chinese to boycott Lily Allen until she issues an apology.

  21. Sadly folks, the email used by that last commenter is a fake so we must assume that it is satire and not from the real Gladys Ong.

    Actually, there is no real Gladys Ong, or so we’re told; apparently it’s the pseudonym of someone connected with Yellow Earth Theatre. And he’s actually a man. Most disappointing.

    • Daniel York Says:

      The outing of Gladys Ong is an amusing if spurious side line to this debate. Perhaps another page could be devoted to it somewhere?
      I do notice however that the general tone what’s gone on above has tended towards spite and sarcasm. I wonder what annoys people so much. I’ve left many (detailed) points above but no one ever chooses to respond. It seems Gladys baiting appeals far more to people’s urge to belittle and bully than any kind of thought through, sensible argument.

  22. Gladys Ong Says:

    Andrew says the email address is a fake. Which it is not. How does he know? He has not even sent an email to check. If he had I would have replied. Try it , Andrew, before jumping to conclusions. Whether I am am a man or not is beside the point. That’s a sexist stance. Whether I am in fact real or not does not belittle my arguments.

    As for my identity, I have heard these rumours myself and would like to stop them at once. Why would the former artistic director of Yellow Earth, a self-appointed leader of the E-Asian community, praise his own company and work behind an online pseudonym? It would be more than a little embarrassing and would demonstrate the need for our community to actually find real leaders; people who can represent our community properly, with the moral courage to put their name to a controversial point of view. This is far from the case and I am sure that your eagerness to accept the idea that the artistic leadership of the UK’s excellent E-Asian Theatre Company being associated with the old-fashioned untrustworthy and slippery “oriental” stereotype is somehow racist in its inception. Shame on you for believing and perpetuating such a matter.

    I maintain: Boycott Lily “racist” Allen now.

  23. The artistic director? Hadn’t heard that.

    Still believe you’re being satirical Gladys. Why else use a pseudonym? But you had us going for a while. Thanks for the entertainment.

    However, we are deeply bored of this discussion now as it’s going nowhere and we going to close it down.

    Off to have an Indian. Or possibly we’ll eat Italian and listen to a bit of Lily Allen.

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