Paul Yen’s “Secret Identitiy Crisis” successfully vocalized and expressed the major issue of whitewashing in the film industry as one that needs to go and proves that that proper Asian-American representation would not only be better for the industry, but required for the next generation to have inspiration in life, and the stories themselves would not be all that different.
What surprised me the most was how much of his personal life experience was injected into his overall theatrical performance. Some transitions from himself as a narrator into the characters surrounding the lore of popular superheroes were breathtakingly seamless, and others were not. In his attempts to correspond an Asian-American POV onto the full canon within superhero lore, he sometimes trips over himself and strays from his thesis. The various heroes he covers overlap each-other in the ‘life-lessons’ learned and causes some loss in engagement from the audience. However, the overall performance that is yielded with that POV, reveals that all Superhero stories can work as well if not better when centered around an Asian, and proves he can embody the All-American spirit of justice on-screen.
I don’t think I needed as much of a call-to-action for the sake of the theater performance as I got, but his re-imagining of Superman and other heroes show that injecting Asian culture and characters into previously predominately white stories, yield a more authentic and organic execution of the themes the original superhero stories were going for.
I hope Paul Yen’s performance continues the word-of-mouth that whitewashing is unacceptable and will continue to fail in the studio’s money making machine as we have recently seen with Ghost in the Shell, Iron Fist, and Doctor Strange.