Rick McMillan discusses returning to PICT and his role of Spooner in No Man's Land.
'The Mikado' Returns to NYGASP, Ready for a New Century
But in a 1993 production of the comic opera for Ontario's Stratford Shakespeare Festival, actor Richard McMillan's Pooh-Bah assumed several roles that struck a particular chord with a 20th century Canadian audience: Attorney General, First Minister of
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This insightful analysis explores the tremendous cross-over appeal of Terry McMillan's novels and movie adaptations.
In the first act of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's The Mikado , the greedy Pooh-Bah introduces himself by each of his many absurd titles. In Gilbert’s original libretto, these include First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice and Master of the Buckhounds, among others. But in a 1993 production of the comic opera for Ontario’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival, actor Richard McMillan’s Pooh-Bah assumed several roles that struck a particular chord with a 20th century Canadian audience: Attorney General, First... Pooh-Bah’s titles weren’t the only changes made for the sake of audience enjoyment — there were references to Canadian politicians and Rubik’s cubes, Niagara and American Express. But one aspect of the performance remained virtually untouched: the exaggerated use of kitschy costumes, body language and makeup for the comedic effect of evoking “Japan. ” These staging choices are not new, but in recent years social and arts activists have charged them with promoting culturally insensitive "yellowface. " During the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s controversial 2014 Mikado run and the backlash that followed, several companies began to rethink their approach to the satirical D’Oyly Carte opera. One, the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players (NYGASP), shut it down altogether in 2015. Now The Mikado has returned to NYGASP as a brand new production. Executive Director David Wannen calls it an indescribable journey of discovery. For Wannen and NYGASP, refocusing The Mikado meant taking the time to listen to the criticisms and allowing their understanding of the issues to evolve. In the wake of the Seattle controversy, Wannen says that the company was focusing on what they believe the issues to be: exaggerated makeup and stereotyped humor. “Obviously that wasn’t enough,” says Wannen, “and we have embarked on a new journey of performance practice now. An advisory committee was formed to further the discussion about how to make the production more accessible. Eight-year NYGASP and Mikado veteran Caítlín Burke, who is of Taiwanese and Irish descent, was asked to be a part of the committee from the start. Burke said that no one wants to censor The Mikado , but this dialogue needs to happen. “What I’ve learned through this advisory committee is that when these things come up, they can’t be ignored,” she says. the company recently held a public forum about The Mikado in the 21st century. Caítlín Burke shares why she believes long-time Gilbert & Sullivan fans will enjoy this production as well as newcomers. Wannen credits director David Auxier with conceiving this new production. Auxier, who joined the company in 1992, had about a year to get the new production off of the ground. One of the first steps was to hold auditions to diversify the company members. As part of the effort, assistant director Kelvin Moon Loh, whom Auxier calls “a Godsend,” urged the company to reach out to the Asian-American theater community via social media outlets and bloggers, which included Erin Quill. The end result was not only a more diverse cast for The Mikado , but a more diverse company overall. They also maintained the decision to avoid makeup and costumes that tried to make actors look as if they belonged to another ethnic group. “If we were going to move forward with our new production idea,” Auxier says, “putting people in Japanese costumes to play Japanese characters was not going to work. But here’s the thing about The Mikado : it isn’t about Japanese people. It’s a lens through which Gilbert and Sullivan criticized Victorian London. The actors don’t need to look “authentic,” and the cast doesn’t need to be homogenous. In order to keep the original, a new prologue was written that establishes The Mikado as a dream, based on Gilbert’s brief and limited understanding of Japan. This mirrors reality: When Gilbert and Sullivan were writing the opera, there was a huge craze for all things Japanese. It drew over a quarter million visitors in its first few months, including.
Richard and Suzanne's Famous Red Beans and Sausage (sausage, bacon, bay leaves, olive oil, garlic, green pepper, green onion, red pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, butter, water, yellow onions)
Grilled Cabbage by Richard (butter, cabbage, olive oil, black pepper, salt)
Richard's Chicken Breasts (butter, chicken, rosemary, flour, marsala wine, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, onions, mushrooms, poultry seasoning)
Richard and Suzanne's Famous Spaghetti Sauce (basil, bay leaf, black pepper, garlic, green pepper, green onion, olive oil, onions, salt, water, sugar)
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Santa Fe Train No. 2, the San Francisco Chief, departs Topeka , Kansas, June 1968
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