Interview: Podcaster Jonathan Castanien


In Conversation: Jonathan Castanien of "Not So Ancient"

By Melissa Slaughter

It’s nice to know another Hapa podcaster. There’s only a handful of us, after all. But I happen to be friends with one. Jonathan Castanien (host of the podcast Not So Ancient; American Theatre Magazine “Role Call: People to Watch”) and I have known each other for several years thanks to the NYC theatre scene. Since we met I started my podcast (We’re Not All Ninjas, co-hosted by Hapa Mag founder Alex Chester). Now he has his own! In Not So Ancient, Jonathan and co-host Peter J. Kuo examine the Asian-American theatre cannon with both humor and gravitas as they discuss plays by Chay Yew, Philip Kan Gotanda, and Ralph Peña.

Jonathan was kind enough to sit with me on a New York City stoop to discuss podcasting, inclusivity in theatre and creating space for Hapas in the Asian-American community.


Interview Highlights:

  • Jonathan’s Vietnamese family reveals that they’re mostly ethnically Chinese.

  • Jonathan’s trip to ArtEquity, a trainers program for the intersection of art and activism.

  • As Hapas, how do we create Asian content in Asian spaces.

  • How Hapas are the grey area of the Asian-American discussion.

  • What happens to Asian-American plays when they stop being published?

  • His favorite episode of Not So Ancient about Chay Yew’s A Language Of Their Own, with special guest Playwright and producer, Nicholas Pilapil.

  • How podcasting breaks the Bamboo Ceiling.


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Melissa Slaughter has lived in all four time zones in the contiguous United States. A former actor in Seattle, WA, Melissa now resides in NYC as a content creator. She is the producer of the We're Not All Ninjas podcast, which she also hosts with fellow Hapa Mag writer, Alex Chester. Melissa also writes for online blogs Nerdophiles and The Nerds of Color. Find her @NotAllNinjasPod.