Decapitation, disembowelment, immersion in boiling oil or molten lead are the eventualities upon which [the characters'] attention and that of the audience is kept fixed with gruesome persistence Over the course of the following year, the organization convened an advisory panel, diversified its company by hiring more Asian-American actors and brainstormed ways to contextualize the show.
In a panic, Ko-Ko declares that he has gone abroad—to Knightsbridge.
Dancing, everyone leaves. Other examples of this are when self-decapitation is described as "an extremely difficult, not to say dangerous, thing to attempt", and also as merely "awkward".
Traditional productions have enthusiastically amplified the Victorian-era casual racism of the work with extravagant amounts of bowing and shuffling and casts of white actors singing in a pinched, nasal tone while sporting taped-back eyelids and yellowish makeup.
Ko-Ko's final speech affirms that death has been, throughout the opera, a fiction, a matter of words that can be dispelled with a phrase or two: being dead and being "as good as dead" are equated.
At the heart of this operetta by the librettist William Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan is a satire skewering British bureaucratic zeal.