How to Stage Your Show Without Being Super Racist

Some "friendly unsolicited pointers" for the Lantern Theater Company's production of 'Julius Caesar'

In Philadelphia, the Lantern Theater Company is currently wrapping up the run of its annual Shakespearean offering, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. This time, they've put a twist on the great tragedy by changing up the Roman Republic and setting the play in medieval Japan. That's great, except there isn't a whole lot in this production that's legitimately Japanese -- most notably, a glaring lack of Japanese actors.

Japanese Actor Makoto Hirano Calls Lantern Theater's Julius Caesar Racist

Dance theater artist (and actual Japanese person) Makoto Hirano saw the play, and it did not sit well with him. So he drafted a letter to the Lantern Theater Company outlining some "friendly unsolicited pointers" on How to Stage Your Show Without Being Super Racist. PROTIP: "DON'T say you were inspired by feudal Japan and then not cast any Japanese actors." Seems like that should have been a big one.

Here's Hirano's full letter, hand-delivered to the Lantern staff last week:

From The Nightingale to The Orphan of Zhao, this seems to keep happening. Some theater companies just can't help themselves with the cultural drag -- boy, do they love it! -- while consistently neglecting to include any actual Asian persons in their plays. Ironically, I can't help but be reminded of my favorite line from Kill Bill, Vol. 1: "Silly Caucasian girl likes to play with samurai swords." Silly indeed.

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