NW Asian Weekly reports that Seattle’s Gilbert & Sullivan Society which recently staged The Mikado has agreed to take part in a town hall about the controversial next Monday, August 18
“Art plays a vital role in our society and can be a catalyst for dialogue and change,” wrote Braden Abraham, acting artistic director of the Seattle Repertory Theatre which is hosting the forum. “As the demographics of our country become more diverse, how do artists and arts groups approach new and historical work in a way that is meaningful and relevant for our audiences? In response to the spirited conversation happening in Seattle and the wider arts community, this moderated forum will address issues of art, race, and cultural representation.”
“I need to know what the ground rules are,” said KIRO radio host Dave Ross who performed in the play. “If it’s true that Japanese Americans feel it’s racist for white people to dress up in a kimono, or dress up in some kind of martial arts uniform … I’ll stop doing it. But this is the first time I’ve heard of someone [being] offended because I dressed up in a costume of another country for a show.”
Sharon Chan who wrote an editorial in the Seattle Times which exposed this controversy was invited by Ross on to his show to discuss the column and Ross’s defense of The Mikado.
“Now that it has been brought up to you, you know, now you know,” Chan said to Ross. “But just because you don’t know doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”
The forum will be held from 630-8:30 next Monday evening at the Seattle Repertory Theatre PONCHO Forum.
A lot has happened since Chan’s original column. You can read about that in NW Asian Weekly.