a new play by Allison Benko
London, 1885. The Japanese Native Village Exhibition has recently opened in Hyde Park to the delight of the British public. Meanwhile, famed duo Gilbert and Sullivan rehearse the world premiere of The Mikado at the Savoy Theatre. When they have difficulty capturing the desired Japanese spirit in their work, one of their actresses impetuously visits the Japanese Exhibition. She there encounters history's forgotten tea waitress, whose hidden talents are sure to transform the opera into something unforgettable. But at whose cost?
Inspired by contemporary discourse around the opera, Another Mikado examines entrenched imbalances of power in the Western theatre. Through Gilbertesque repartée, Benko illuminates the little-known events surrounding The Mikado's creation, thereby providing a vital contribution to current conversations on representation, exploitation, and the theatrical tradition of yellow-face.
This new play was originally commissioned by the Ridgewood Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, and is now being developed alongside prominent Japanese translator Kaori Eda. A closed developmental reading of the work was held at Primary Stages under the guidance of producer Veronica Shea. We are currently seeking partners to help bring this story to life. If you would like to request a copy of the script, or simply learn more about the project, you may contact Ms. Benko directly. Stay tuned for information about an upcoming industry reading of the play.