Something out of Nothing

Finally, word from the front.  Reviews have come in for the show at the BNYT and it seems that I’ve been just a little oversensitive.

I’ve made a mountain out of a molehill.

And going against every known law of physics and energy, I’ve actually made SOMETHING out of NOTHING.

Apparently, according to Charles Isherwood of the New York Times, “after “The Book of Mormon,” we have entered a thoroughly post-politically correct age at the theater, [and] Ms. Benjamin has no qualms about making silly sport of the indigenous peoples whose cultures caused such prurient fascination in the Victorian era.”

Plus, those indigenous peoples don’t usually take in an Off-Broadway show.

Mr. Isherwood thought the white tribal chief was “the perfect picture of the barbarous, untamed savage . . . [and] you can bet that the savage in the room will soon be barking, “Nuts to you, pope!” in his goofy accent.”

I wish I had gotten the memo about no longer needing to be politically correct.  It would have saved me some time.

While it wouldn’t be fair for me to judge the play without having seen it, I also can’t get myself to see the show.  And let’s face it, I’d be about as objective as a senator in a voting booth.  So, I can only rely on the word of others.

Marissa Skudlarek, a blogger with San Francisco Theatre Pub, saw a preview of the production and had some questions of her own.  Please click here to read about her experience and if you’ve seen the show, please let us know what you thought, and how you felt about the casting of the tribal chief.

Inquiring minds want to know.

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3 thoughts on “Something out of Nothing

  1. My view is that you haven’t made a mountain out of a molehill!

    I came across your blog recently. Haven’t read all of your comments, but it seems to me the discussion is mainly based on where people don’t cast actors of ethnic minorities.

    I’m a white female from the UK, but this is actually a subject that I’ve been made aware of over the last several months. I don’t know whether you watch youtube, but I came across a channel/mini company called Wong Fu Productions. They make short films, and they’re at the heart of an Asian-American community on youtube. Not sure if you’re interested, but you can check them out if you want. I just thought you might like to know that I’ve become a huge fan of a group of Asian actors/film-makers, who actually cast Asian actors in ‘ordinary’ roles (you might notice they aren’t traditional productions though, which you may see as a good or bad thing).

    P.S. If you’re wondering how I became a fan of Wong Fu Productions, I wrote a blog about it in April.

  2. A bit late to the game here, but I saw the show when it opened, and was struck by how ham-handed the “savage” was written and acted. Among some other quite good, occasionally nuanced performances Luigi was one cringe-worthy stereotype after another. The fact that, at the end of the show, he wanted to stay in London to work in the service industry (bartender) because where he was from was just so awful, was the racially tone-deaf icing on the cake.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, and not late at all! Audience responses are what the conversation really needs at this point.

      It’s true that, as written, the role of Luigi does not leave much room for nuance. Many have commented that I should not have WANTED this role in the first place because, really, how much depth can you really inject when you’re painted blue?

      Still part of me wonders if the right actor of color would have been able to ‘salvage the savage’; to maybe give Luigi more depth and more nuance. The end of the show might not have been the tone-deaf icing that you witnessed; it might’ve been an allusion to immigration and the first-world dreams that continue to inspire millions of immigrants to leave their homelands for the hope of something better for them and their children.

      Or not.

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