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

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lantern theater julius caesar racist japanese[1]

Lantern Theater Company is in the middle of a run of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar[2] at St. Stephen’s Theater. The setting is medieval Japan.

The City Paper[3] didn’t like it. Inquirer critic Toby Zinman wasn’t much of a fan, calling the show[4] “intriguing and frustrating.” And now Philadelphia theater artist Makoto Hirano, a native of Japan and samurai descendant, has deemed the show “racist.”

Here is the letter that Hirano hand-delivered to Lantern staff earlier this week:

Screen shot 2014-03-05 at 2.07.18 PM[5]

Here is the response from Lantern director Charles McMahon:

“One of the major goals of Lantern Theater Company has always been to foster dialogue and discussion among our audience. We have a long history of hiring actors of all backgrounds for Shakespeare roles, but our production of Julius Caesar has offended some people, and we want to better understand their concerns. I have reached out personally to Makoto as well as other members of the local theater and Asian American communities and am interested in hearing all points of view. I welcome the opportunity to further discuss diversity and cultural representation in the theater with anyone who has an interest in an open and direct exchange.”

PHOTO: Mark Garvin

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: https://www.phillymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/lantern-theater-julius-caesar-racist-japanese.jpg
  2. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar: http://www.lanterntheater.org/2014/caesar.html
  3. City Paper: http://citypaper.net/article.php?Theater-review-Julius-Caesar-19638
  4. calling the show: http://articles.philly.com/2014-02-15/entertainment/47339505_1_distraction-shakespeare-ancient-rome
  5. [Image]: https://www.phillymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Screen-shot-2014-03-05-at-2.07.18-PM.png

Source URL: https://www.phillymag.com/ticket/2014/03/05/japanese-actor-calls-lantern-theaters-julius-caesar-racist/