Playwriting

Censorship Blues

It’s getting a little bit crazy out there. This week we had a customer who wanted to know more about a play because they were worried it showed too much of a disrespect for authority. What the hell? Swearing I can understand. Sex I can understand. Violence, to a degree, I can understand. But disrespect for authority? What art respects authority? Doesn’t Salvador Dali show disrespect for authority?

I don’t understand why the bleaching out of all things termed as “bad” from a young person’s life means that they will never experience those bad things. Life doesn’t play by those rules. And honestly, if aren’t aware, what’s going to happen to them when they do come across those things? How will they handle it? Why is a robot, compliant youth the ideal?

In general we pay attention to what schools have to deal with. And I’m perfectly fine with where we stand. But at some point, you have to stand up and say, this is not the happy happy fun lollipop play. And if you want the happy happy fun lollipop play, you’ll have to go elsewhere.

We had a little bit of a discussion today about a new play coming out and whether or not there should be a warning on it. And what kind of calls we might get. And about that place on the fence where we stand. Where is that point when you cater to customers so much you lose yourself?

This week we went to a festival of one acts in a Catholic school. Sex was mentioned in one play. There was swearing. Suicide was mentioned (my play!). And surprisingly, the world didn’t come to a colliding halt. There was no thunder and lightning. And none of the students seemed traumatized. In fact, the audience was filled with students and they were generally respectful, happy for their friends on stage, cheerfully chatting between plays, quiet when they needed to be. The first impression from a large group of students always rings loud and clear – bad vibes read very loudly – and I had a great evening. On top of that all the plays were student directed!

I guess it’s the voices we hear the loudest that we tend to cater to.

About the author

Lindsay Price