"CRAZY how blatant racism is still happening"

Students from Fort Hays State University (FHSU), Kansas, are criticising a play for cultural appropriation and racism.

According to Campus Reform, FHSU students have criticised a school-sponsored operetta as being “racist” and guilty of “cultural appropriation”.

Titled The Mikado, the play is described as “a fun burlesque romp about the whimsy of love” on the FHSU Music and Theatre Facebook page.

The play is based “in a mythical Japan,” in which the main character, “has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado.”

In a trailer posted for the play, The Mikado is described as “a masterpiece of comic writing with tuneful music added to the story. This show takes place in a mythical town in Japan. This show contains themes of friction between government and human relationships, as well as death, cruelty, and love for comedy’s sake.”

“This cast and crew has put in many hours and long nights into their performance. Dedication played a key role into this production. With many comedic jokes that will make you laugh, as well as some recognizable songs, you’re guaranteed to have an enjoyable night at the theater.”

However, students of the university have been less enthused about the operetta. The word ‘racism’ was scrawled on posters of the play and even a lengthy response was taped onto one of the posters.

“The Mikado is cultural appropriation, it is RACIST, it is ‘yellow-face’, and it sure as hell shouldn’t be a production that exists,” the post reads. “The opera is about Japanese people… *BUT* … it is being performed here at Fort Hays State University with an all NON-ASIAN CAST.”

“This production was not okay when it was created and it definitely isn’t ok today – like COME ON, it’s 2018.”

In response, a number of students supported the letter on Twitter. “saw this on campus earlier this morning- CRAZY how blatant racism is still happening,” wrote one person on Twitter

“I 100% SUPPORT THE PERSON WHO POSTED THESE THINGS,” tweeted another.

One person simply tweeted, “expose them.”

Nonetheless, other students have embraced the production. “Everyone in Hays needs to go see FHSU’s production of the Mikado tonight! It starts at 7:30 in F/S theatre in Malloy Hall. And to everyone in the cast, break a leg tonight! I love you all and know how hard you’ve worked!” one student tweeted.

“Having fun rehearsing the Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan. Last dress rehearsal tonight and Performance on Friday at 7:30PM and Sunday at 2:30! You guys are in store for a great show!” wrote another.

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