Body Shaming & #GoldOpen for The Farewell and Song Lang
TFP has noticed in the last week or so, an inordinate amount of BODY SHAMING recently, nationally, in the Broadway community, er…Off Broadway, and internationally. Movie stars, athletes, and stage actors have all faced it, and have spoken up about it, which TFP applauds.
When Katelyn Ohashi had a chance, winning her BEST PLAY Award at the ESPY Awards, she took her shot back at internet trolls who said some nasty things about her online.
Good for her for calling them out. Women’s Gymnastics has had a shattering past two years, it is athletes like Ohashi that will turn it around.
As she said, the leotards in gymnastics seem to be primed to invite comment – but what about vacations?
Actors get no time off from the gym? From dieting?
Folks had an issue with Jason Momoa, a literal Gawd among us heathens!
They called him fat for his ‘Dad Bod” while on vacation!
That is not a Dad Bod, Dudes – for real. There is no beer gut or clear examples of a guy who was in shape when he was young, letting it go quite happily to deal with family and work.
Y’all, come ON – it is JASON MOMOA – he is not, has never been overweight.
Even if he is looking a bit less like Aquaman in this really bad, taken without his knowledge, photo – he likely falls into the healthy parameters for his height and weight.
KIM CHI SLAPPPPP to the Folks feeling like they can climb on and attack these two mixed race people at the TOP of their professions!
Jason Momoa and Katelyn Ohashi –
EAT ALL THE THINGS!
ENJOY YOURSELVES! DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO!
Here is what – diversity or inclusion does not mean only skin tone and ethnicity, while it includes body shape and size, it includes performers with disability AND it includes people of the LGBTQ community AS WELL.
Get it, AS WELL.
TFP was very sad to read and then hear the comments of Theater Critic, Peter Filichia and radio host/owner, James Marino as they reviewed the Off Broadway show, CAMP MORNING WOOD, on Broadway Radio.
They did not talk much about the show and it’s themes, performances, the writing, the jokes – NOPE!
What interested them most was the size and shape and genital endowments of the Actors, and commenting about them and what led them to be cast in a play that occurs within a nudist camp.
One can only listen to their giggly chortling as they discuss other males and their penis sizes, and shudder. It had nothing to do with theater, except that the show was viewed in a theater space.
This was not theatrical criticism.
This was two men, who would likely never be asked to be naked in public, much less on the stage – making really bad dick jokes.
Though the two gentlemen in question are absolute beauties themselves with FLAWLESS physiques…
Now, if TFP were to to on to criticize THOSE two bodies in particular, then all and sundry would be coming after her.
Because how DARE she criticize white men. Particularly white men of the extended theatrical community who have long thought they lofted above the fray.
What if she asked you to imagine them naked and try and guess their penis size – and then invited you to laugh at them because you did not guess, well, generously?
Would that make you uncomfortable? Would you think, “Hey – that is not what I am looking for when I read an article,”.
That is the point.
These men whose jobs would not exist if Talent did not take chances and put their work on the stage and on the page, only to provide them with free tickets so they could come to a show and giggle like pre-teens in a locker room over something that is entirely natural.
After all – ‘Everyone is born naked and the rest is Drag” – thank you, RuPaul.
TFP wants to be clear – if you are a Theater Critic and you attend a show, you may talk/write about the performances (Nay/Yay), the writing, the scenery, the direction, the costumes, the lights, the sound, what you may NOT do, is conclude that Actors’ bodies are up for your disdain or amusement.
It means not only during interviews do you not touch performers’ bodies physically, it also includes not harming them in print and on social media by mocking the bodies that you are not touching.
You do not imply that their breasts are either not big enough or too big for a role. That they are “Too Black, too Asian, too Latinx, Not Native American ‘enough” to be in that role.
THAT IS NOT YOUR JOB!
We do not care what you think of our hips, noses, eyes, eye shape, legs, thighs, lungs, hands, arms or any other body part that a ‘critic’ could nitpick and that list DEFINITELY includes penises.
Heaven knows what these guys think of Performers with Disabilities!
Actors bodies are their instruments. Actors bodies are wonderful, fluid things that help ensure a great performance, but the manner in which genetics assembled their parts is not for comment. By a professional ‘critic’ or by anyone else.
TFP is fairly certain that the White Male Critics are circling like sauropods after a meteor strike – and the only thing that would ‘save’ them, would be empathy. But empathy – as we have seen with the current administration – seems to vanish the closer one gets to power. The more they believe in their own taste level, the more they feel that their knowledge extends past theater to any subject they would like to wax on about.
Where TFP and the rest of the Broadway Community are asking – after numerous troubling reviews by White Critics – is, isn’t it time that people without empathy stop reviewing shows? And Films? And Dance Pieces? And Art Installations? They do not seem to even like going to these shows, so why drag it out?
What is needed are Critics of differing background, different ways of identifying, people who still love it – even though for so long they have been shut out of it. Get people who love theater.
If you have no ability to do the research into what you are about to view – or indeed have no interest in doing so, and creating that empathy, creating that bond between audience and actor – why are you even doing it in the first place?
Broadway Radio sells subscriptions. It makes money on the love people have for the theater. Yet it seems to hold Actors in contempt. It gives space for promotion and interviews where they fawn over the ‘big fish’, but it is not what you do when ‘everyone’ is watching – it is what you do when you think no one can see you that matters.
The disdain they had for the Actor’s bodies in CAMP EVER WOOD is the disdain they have for all Actor’s bodies.
Frankly, if Broadway people decide NOT to do interviews or allow coverage to Broadway Radio – it would fold pretty fast. There are a lot of people out there making their living on Broadway that would be ‘fat shamed’ by these critics. Or “thin shamed” etc. etc. etc.
Time for Broadway Performers and Producers to take a stand as to what is allowed, and what is not.
Tick tock Broadway Performers, tick tock.
Because if all Performers now have to meet the very rigid standards that these two men have decided upon, then stories will be less interesting. Stories will be unable to be told to be best of the shows abilities because everyone will have to meet the measurement requirements and weigh ins.
That is what Broadway and Off Broadway Actors do – we tell stories.
Theatrical Critics have degrees in theater criticism (one hopes) and not body policing.
The Actors in question were playing members of the LGBTQ community, and one in particular, Anthony Logan Cole, was targeted because within that community, he falls into the “Bear” Category.
The comments towards him were the most egregious.
TFP takes that very personally because Bears ( and they know who they are) are among her closest friends, and she will ‘stan’ for them as much as they have for her. She has attended their weddings, their funerals, their birthdays, viewing parties – they are part of her extended Family. She loves them.
Bears are reliable AF.
“Bears” are men in the Gay Community who have strong, hardworking bodies, who are not afraid of what other people think of them, and they tend to have a robust way of looking at life. They are, in general, men who would be considered “thick” in common parlance – and all the variations that entails.
It is great that Mr. Cole was on the stage and proud to be so- and TFP would have enjoyed seeing/hearing a review of his performance.
Here is the cast photo, taken by Michael Wiltbank – see if you can find “The Bears”.
There are two.
Mr. Cole was portraying a character whose body was supposed to look exactly as Mr. Cole’s looks.
Which is, let’s face it – AMAZING!
Yay playwright Marc Eardley!
The LGBTQ community comes in all sizes and shapes and colors – and not everything is NAKED BOYS SINGING – sometimes it is CAMP MORNING WOOD – and that is ok.
It is a relief.
We need diversity in every aspect of the stage and productions – ‘we’ need it. It cannot continue to be the realm of people who have hit a genetic lottery with body type – it just cannot. It is unrealistic and leads to lower self esteem across the board – ACROSS THE BOARD!
These instances are people who are highly visible who know that this can be ‘part of the game’ – can you imagine what the effect is on a kid ‘following along’ at home – watching people at the top of their professions being ‘fat-shamed”?
What happens to that kid? Do they get an eating disorder? Do they self-harm?
People who do not fit into the expectations of White Male Critics of a Certain Age should be able to turn in a performance without worrying that the requirements of a script, and their commitment to it, is going to bring on attacks in platforms heard around the country.
In this case, the play and the actors made a commitment to being naked on the stage. Then a critic attends and instead of seeing the show – he starts looking at the penises.
Then he goes BACK to the place that sent him to review this show, and talks ABOUT THE PENISES.
He did a PENIS REVIEW!!!!!
For those who think TFP is being ‘too sensitive’ or a ‘snowflake” – rest assured that OnStageBlog has done a quick review of this critic in the past, and it seems Mr. F cannot help himself but to allude to how attractive he finds someone in a show. Or what he thinks their weight should be. That the comments prior did not send up red flags, is a shame.
Think, before you make that charge about ‘too sensitive’ – what would that man say about you and your body? Really think on it.
What if it was your child? What if it was your Significant Other?
What if someone told you your hips were too big to be in a show?
What if they told you something about your lips or hair or you were too thin?
You were too ethnic?
This is an insidious business.
TFP once got a call from CBS, where WAS she?
Didn’t she KNOW she had to come in RIGHT AWAY!!! NO ONE ELSE COULD DO THIS PART! TFP had been in their Diversity showcase, so she was very flattered. She got off the plane and rushed right over.
She went in, she got her sides – the sides were “Morbidly Obese Asian Woman”.
TFP was between a size 6-8 at the time.
The Head of Casting thought she was “Morbidly Obese”.
The Casting Director walked in, shook his head and rolled his eyes.
Go back and read what he said about other shows and the bodies in those shows – it’s an issue. He should not be reviewing shows – and especially not on the radio.
TFP sentences Broadway Radio to 150 whacks of the wand, a session of sensitivity training and early retirement of these problematic views and people.
And, she has been dying to say this, so here goes….
THE FAREWELL a film by Lulu Wang is opening this weekend in New York and Los Angeles and soon, around the country.
If you are able to see it the weekend it opens when it comes to your town – please grab a ticket. AAPIs are not guaranteed a place in the showbiz pantheon due to the success of a RomCom that is a lovely RomCom, but nevertheless, a RomCom that had a huge theatrical opening.
As in it was the only AAPI Rom Com that has opened on a national level in theaters.
THE FAREWELL looks to be a beautiful, gut wrenching comedy based on the Director’s real life, as to what it means to say goodbye, when one of you knows that it is forever.
TFP also had a Grandma that lived overseas….she is sure many others have as well.
It also highlights the differences between Asian Americans and Asians in the Homeland, wherever the homeland may be, which is a great discussion to continue to have.
OPENS THIS WEEKEND, JULY 12TH!
GET YOUR TICKETS AAPI AMERICA!
AND CALL YOUR DAMN GRANDPARENTS!
Finally, would like those who are in New York City, or commutable distance to join TFP at the additional screening of Director, Leon Le‘s critically acclaimed film, SONG LANG on August 1st.
Tickets are avail HERE.
OOoh looks beautiful.
Showbiz can be as vast as the ocean and have as much diversity – it is these opinions from both Trolls and in the above case, two Theater Critics that keep it from being that way.
The Gatekeepers only want glam, well endowed, sexy AF GLAM or GET OFF THE STAGE!
Yep not here for THAT!