Arts & Entertainment

White Pearl

Merlynn Tong. Photo: Rene Vaile

You won’t want to miss the Australian premiere of Anchuli Felicia King’s play White Pearl, presented by National Theatre Of Parramatta and Sydney Theatre Company at Riverside Theatres.

King’s play puts a razor-sharp focus on corporate culture, racism and pan-Asian relations.

She said, “Around the time I started writing this play in 2016, a bunch of ads for skin-whitening products went viral for being racially insensitive. Having seen these kinds of ads growing up in Thailand and the Philippines, I found it really fascinating that suddenly they were being held to account by a global community, and to an online discourse around racial politics. So I wrote a play about it!”

She was excited that the world premiere of White Pearl was held at the Royal Court Theatre in London. 

“It was in equal parts thrilling and nerve-wracking! It’s been so exciting to get to do this play around the world and see how it resonates with different audiences,” she said. “I’m trying to make people laugh, while simultaneously reflecting on why they’re laughing.”

Although the play is set in Singapore, “White Pearl really is a global play,” she said, “exploding the idea of monocultures (particularly the notion that “Asia” is a monoculture) and taking a look at the fractious, digitised, interconnected world we live in today.”

King has always been fascinated by “the dark underbelly of humanity; the grimy, grotesque side of human behaviour. That’s why I love satire and black comedy. It’s uncomfortably funny because it’s tapping into something true, something primal.”

Until Nov 9. Riverside Theatres, Corner Market & Church St, Parramatta. $30-$49+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.riversideparramatta.com.au

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