Monday, December 19, 2016

Tiny Tim Was Asian

Years ago, living in Manchester, NH probably in Junior High School at the time, we all piled onto busses and took the 45 minute or so trip to Lowell, MA to see a play:  Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". 

I'm pretty sure that we children, most of us from the white, working poor class had never seen an actual play in an actual theatre.  Ok, I know I hadn't.  We even got to go on the nice busses, not those city school busses.

Not the same kid...
Despite our theatrical illiteracy, we all knew the story.  Agitated ghosts, poor family.  Blah, blah, blah.

There in the majesty of my first trip to an actual theatre, the story progressed.  Ebeneezer Scrooge lived up to his name and Bob Cratchit was Bob Cratchit.  When the scene changed to Bob's house, there, standing in the kitchen was the little, crippled Tiny Tim.  And he was Asian.

Yup.  The actor who played Tiny Tim was Asian.  Spoke with a community-theatre English brogue, but he was Asian.

I was so disappointed.  It was all I could fixate on.  Why would they cast an Asian kid to play that role?  Bob Cratchit wasn't Asian.  It made no sense to me.  It was a travesty.  It nearly ruined the play.

Fast-forward what seems like a thousand years and I am on the board of a community theatre.  One of the stars of the theatre is a little 8 year old Asian girl.  And she is a dynamo.  The crowds love her.  We didn't stage that particular play, but had the old, Junior High School me had been on that board, what would I have done with her spark, with her magic?  Could she have been Tiny Tim?  The current day me says "why the hell not." 

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