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Asians in Western Drama: the Changing Face Depiction - Essay Example

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It was quite late in the nineteenth century that the rich culture of Asia appealed Western playwrights to bring these foreign characters in their dramas and plays…
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Asians in Western Drama: the Changing Face Depiction
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Download file to see previous pages All three are the Asian influenced musicals and are the supportive assistance for the opening statement of this paper. The portrayal of the Asian characters’ Post colonial approach brought the literatures of the two poles very closer and today we can find an Asian playing the role of the protagonist or the main supportive character in comparison to the early days of the century where an Asian character was mere a symbol of unwanted occupation (King, 2007). One of the examples of such plays is “Yellow Face” by Henry Hwang in which the appearance of Jonathan Pryce; a white British man as Asian character has been a matter of controversy for over a year and Hwang has to face number of projections and accusations of angry white race who strongly protested for the enactment of Pryce as an Asian character. The purpose of my paper is to primarily focus on the appearance of the Asian characters in Western plays but Yellow Face is a clear example of what this type of play has to go through in contemporary society before it appears as a theatrical performance (Winston, 1998). “Yellow Face” by Henry Hwang is the reactionary result of the protest raised at the casting of Welsh actor Jonathan as an Asian pimp. This constitutes a basic and historic step of the Asian-American presentation of plays. Henry Hwang has to face the music of the public for bringing a controversial character and adding in the changing history of depiction. Engineer’s club has been a matter of controversy in literary houses and some people claim that it was not the racism which created the Engineer’s character, but the imaginary creation of a fictional character by two French men and one English man. Hwang found it extremely difficult for him to tell his theatre fellows that presenting a Welsh as an Asian pimp was very much the same as the Caucasians appearing in black masks. It was very uncomfortable for him to bring his contemporary theatre fellows to this understanding and get them convinced. Asian appearance in western plays does not involve only the racial factor but also the physical appearance, citizenship, national origin and geography factors. Yet the above mentioned play is a testament that this foreign appearance is always a showcase of the producer’s school of though and mindsets. The play is cathartic in spirit and provides frequent funny explorations on the topic. Hwang goes one step further and conjures the character of Marcus who is mainly flawed and provides the vision to the audience that no one is left out. Marcus is widely perceived as Asian though in reality he is not. This provides major assistance in giving a red signal to those who made a lot of noise for the new experimentation genre of art and did not leave it an experiment but made a racial issue (Li, 2007). It appeals to people of all colors, who at first or second glance find themselves engaged in the racial fights directly or indirectly, providing them a showcase of how complex issues are raised on simple struggles. In the beginning of this experimental genre of introducing Asian characters in American plays, the focus of the western writer was primarily upon the struggles of Asians in different parts of the Western world and secondary touch was given to the Asian life ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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