Anchuli Felicia King Debuts White Pearl at Studio Theatre this November

Kristen Schott | September 10, 2019 | Lifestyle

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Multihyphenate talent Anchuli Felicia King wanted Asian women to play the starring roles in White Pearl “to show that [they] are all very different, complex human beings.” The play debuts Nov. 6 at Studio Theatre in DC; King plans to attend and also visit Fancy Radish, which she calls an “absolutely fantastic vegan restaurant.”

Thai-Australian playwright Anchuli Felicia King got the idea for White Pearl after seeing ads for skin-lightening products go viral for being racially insensitive. “I saw ads like that all the time growing up in Thailand and the Philippines,” she says. “These companies couldn’t market their products in a national vacuum anymore; they were being held to account by a global audience.” She began interviewing women of color at Columbia University, where she was doing her MFA, and the play was born. And its U.S. premiere is Nov. 6 at Studio Theatre. Audiences will watch as Singaporean cosmetics brand Clearday’s female team tries to stop the negative buzz about its new skin-whitening cream. “It allowed me to explore [themes like] intra-Asian racial politics... and the monetization of shame in the beauty industry,” she notes. “But at its core, it’s an old-school black comedy about six women in an office trying to manage a PR crisis.” King’s take on beauty? She loves when “things are baroque, intricate, camp,” like an Alexander McQueen coat. “It’s poking holes at normative standards—trying to reconceptualize what beauty means.” Tickets $20-$90, memberships $300-$15,000, 1501 14th St. NW, studiotheatre.org



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Photography by: brynne mcmanimie