One of the most prominent theater companies in England has found itself under fire for its casting of a classic Chinese play. The Royal Shakespeare Co. in Stratford-upon-Avon is being criticized for casting just three actors of Asian descent in the ensemble cast of "The Orphan of Zhao," one of the most famous plays in Chinese history.
The RSC's production, directed by Gregory Doran and adapted by James Fenton, features a multicultural cast of 17 performers. Most of the principal characters -- including the title role -- will be played by non-Asian actors.
In recent days, the production has come under criticism on blogs and social-media sites, including a Tweet from playwright David Henry Hwang. Hwang wrote that the RSC staging puts an "Asian kid on poster, but casts Asian actors only as dogs & a maid."
Hwang also issued a joint statement with the Asian American Performers Action Coalition, in which they said that "the RSC seeks to exploit the public's growing interest in China; through its casting choices, the company reveals that its commitment to Asia is only skin-deep."