Putting the Nation on Stage

Playwrights Note : Anchuli Felicia King

October 11, 2019

In 2016, ads for whitening products kept popping up on my newsfeed. These ads (variously Thai, Chinese, Korean) had gone viral online, having been deemed “racist” by the global populace. What struck me about this phenomenon is that I’d seen ads like this all the time, growing up in Thailand and the Philippines. Yet in the age of YouTube and #cancelculture, content could no longer exist in a national vacuum.

It was suddenly accountable to a global discourse on race, being critiqued in a forum not particularly well suited to nuance. So I wrote a play about it. There is no one “theme” in White Pearl: it delves into many subjects: the cosmetics industry, racial politics, beauty standards, startup culture, capitalism and the English language (to name just a few). The play’s thematically overloaded because, at its core, this is a play about nuance. And the danger of its absence.

WHITE PEARL
24 Oct – 9 Nov