Well. Been working on a difficult show tackling difficult ideas for some difficult months now. One week before closing and I had a tricky conversation explaining to two colleagues there how we – East Asians and allies – were treated hideously – shouting, swearing, spitting, and accusing us of being racists & bullies – by the audiences of That Show, supported by That Venue. Shakingly angry and dismayed all over again but glad to have had another difficult conversation with folks who otherwise hadn’t really known or thought much about it.
Coincidentally, was asked by someone else tonight if I knew certain East Asian actors who had been involved in the protest.
Have I betrayed them by taking the job and entering this space? Did I do it in disregard of the awfulness of last year’s protest? Is my body my sword?
I have failed to build bridges, to pour oil on water, to raise a glass, to bury my hatchet. I have struggled to wear my Good Immigrant sweatshirt proudly, bought and brought the book into the space, spoken to the new executive producer and the new marketing person, had chats about why it’s ok for a white English person to play a white French person but why marginalised and persecuted peoples should be given helpful space wherever and whenever we can. I have asked, and failed to achieve, public access to the short film made by the the creative team as a response to the voicelessness of the murdered Arab, I have tried to encourage discussion, transparency, a fleeting consideration perhaps of how female characters of different skin colours are treated in the narrative, how live women – right before your eyes and for your viewing pleasure – are treated with violence by flawed but lovable male characters.
“I beat her til she bled.”
I wonder about why it is the male Arab who gets to have a voice, but the female remains unnovelised, unpoetised, left as Sister and another dead Mother – a figure to explain the man.
I wonder about the slut-shaming. Mistress, Mistress, Mistress versus Girlfriend. Where is the fiancée and where is the wife?
“With my wife, of course!”
Her hands are fishy, my hands, weak. Courage, compassion and generosity slip from me. I laugh and laugh and laugh. It’s laughable! If this was a fiction, if he hadn’t been saying anything about injustice and inequality, if we don’t miss some people – yellow, invisibles – as much as we’d miss our dog.
Did I mention it’s a sausage dog? 🐶