Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Romeo and Juliet too "Impure" for Nashville, Shakespeare Censored
Tennessee, home of great ribs and backward thinking, is in the news again. This time its citizens demanding that Shakespeare's classic Romeo and Juliet be censored. Seems the 400 year old play is too racy for its high school students. This was the claim of a group of self-appointed censors who found the Bard of Avon a bit too bawdy for Music City, U.S.A. They requested a number of cuts to Shakespeare's text in order to tone down the play he wrote. The theatre company refused and went with what the Bard wrote instead of a watered down version to please the nabobs.
Most of the upset is was about some of the bawdier scenes with Mercutio and the Nurse. But Romeo and Juliet also shows two teenagers disobeying their parents, and this gets some of the Nashville fundamentalists in a tizzy. A woman who identified herself as Val, a home-school teacher complained that she "struggled being here with my son. The sexuality was too much. Our children need to be more pure." The full story is in The Toronto Star.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can enjoy The Acting company's splendid production of the classic at the Colonial Theatre on February 12.
Meantime, chalk up another one for Tennessee where the Butler Act was passed by fundamentalist Christians in 1925 banning the teaching of the theory of evolution in all public schools and colleges. This of course led to the famous Scopes (Monkey) Trial which made the state a laughingstock, and the anti-evolutionists haven't stopped trying to turn the clock back to the dark ages since.