Chandri MacLeod (chandri) wrote,
Chandri MacLeod

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The casting. Oh, gods, the casting...

mik100 asked me to accompany her to an "opera" playing at Douglas College, an hour-long adaption of something. She had to go for a class. Since I live just up the hill from Dougie, and wasn't going to class today anyway, due to it being Neil Gaiman Day (sidebar: Eeeeee! :D), I agreed. Trekked down to the college, met up, and just as we're sitting down in the theatre she tells me:

"Oh, by the way, it's based on Obasan."

For those of you that aren't British Columbians, Obasan is a relatively famous Canadian novel about the Japanese internment during the Second World War. The story's told from the point of view of a four-year-old girl as she and her family are shuttled all over the country. On its own merits, it's not a bad book. But if you happen to be a white person, it is two hundred and fifty-seven pages of "guiltguiltguiltyouevilwhiteperson. And if you are forced to read it no less than seven times in high school, you not only become incapable of further appreciating it as a sociological commentary but get really really sick of it and never want to hear of it again. Just speaking the name of the book is enough to draw a collective groan from classes full of grade twelve students.

Some time ago, the author turned the book into a play. Which I've never seen. But I was not, y'know, completely horrified (beyond vowing revenge on mik100; she did this on purpose), because the book's dignified, and pretty well put-together, and as the author wrote the play, it couldn't be too bad.

Oh, gods.

What we saw today was not the play. What we saw today was an adaption of the adaption of the book. An hour long, with four cast members playing a dozen parts. They had a forty-year-old Chinese woman playing a four-year-old blonde girl, the same actor playing the father as played the racist white boy, and two adult actors playing the brother and sister characters (aged six and four, respectively), who were more or less incapable of portraying young children.

Now, I've acted in plays with limited casts, where several of us had to play two or more different parts. But oh, gods. It's distantly possible the company was so utterly impoverished they couldn't afford any more actors, but for a project like this, the source material for which is a favourite of government arts funding programs, and the venue for which is so socially-minded its students could easily have been convinced to do it for free, I don't think it can be let slide. It was simply awful. Even considering. o.O

That said, I'll get you for this, mik100. >.
Tags: bibliophile, i weep for the species

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