Mickey Rooney’s infamous performance as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is often pointed to as the most egregious example of yellowface in the movies.
His over the top characterization is cringeworthy to watch to this day, but it also raises several questions: Should actors really have the opportunity to play any role? Could there ever have been a “right” way for him to play it? And what compels an actor to play a character that they really probably shouldn’t be playing?
Asian-American writer/performer J. Elijah Cho attempts to explore these topics and more in his show, Mr. Yunioshi. (Best Solo Show, 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival).