An unacknowledged whiteness remains at the center of Australian theater, which prevents a richer cultural and linguistic diversity from taking hold. This essay is driven by two questions: Why, despite genuine efforts to improve access, has there been limited progress for Asian Australians in theater? Could theater in Australia be normalizing whiteness in ways that alienate the very people it seeks to help? Vu draws on concepts introduced by Frantz Fanon, Ghassan Hage, and Audre Lorde, along with her own experience as a playwright, to examine how Vietnamese Australian identity is represented and contested on Australian stages, including the obstacles that preclude cultural diversity from achieving the aspirations that many people hold for it in Australia. The essay has three sections. First is a discussion of the history of Australian theater in the context of colonialism and the white gaze. Second is a case study of a playwrights’ development program aimed at Asian Australians to address the glaring lack of scripts written by members of this minority. Third, the author analyzes her own play Coloured Aliens and its production in order to explicate how the white gaze operates. The essay ends with a brief analysis of critical reviews that the play received, which show that greater ethnic diversity in Australian theater remains an incomplete project because efforts to diversify concentrate on peripheral “inclusion” while leaving the centrality of whiteness intact.
"Australian Theater’s White Gaze in the Making of Coloured Aliens,"
Antipodes: Vol. 33:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/antipodes/vol33/iss2/6