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Commented: Problematic opinions...

Theatre critics whinge at The King and I claiming it to be politically incorrect

Link Here 14th July 2018
The King and I is back in the West End, 67 years on from its Broadway debut.

But its portrait of a white woman being both fascinated and repelled by a society depicted as both backward and barbarous is winding up a few PC critics.

The Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish whinges The King and I one of the most problematic musicals of the 20th Century American canon. Michael Billington expresses similar sentiments in The Guardian , saying it seems to endorse the idea of the civilising influence of the west on the barbaric east.

The Independent's Paul Taylor detects a smack of imperial condescension to this story of a widowed, well-bred Victorian governess who... gives a funny foreign despot... a stiff dose of Western values.

Time Out's Andrzej Lukowski, meanwhile, calls the musical kind of racist ... like an elderly relative who you make allowances for on grounds of age.

Director Bartlet Sher responds that the show remains resonant, powerful and extremely well-conceived. He also dismisses suggestions the piece has dated, saying its views on colonialism, gender equality and the conflict between modernity and tradition make it as timely and powerful as ever.

I wonder if these PC critics would have banned British cave rescuers from helping out in Thailand lest heroically saving children's lives affirms 'white saviour' stereotypes.

Offsite Comment: The King and I : a West End treat

14th July 2018. See  article from spiked-online.com . By Christian Butler

Those crying Western imperialism are really missing the point.

 

 

This article may be inappropriate for those of a snowflake disposition...

Canada introduces trigger warnings for stage shows

Link Here 1st July 2018

New theatre audience advisories in Canada are warning about specific plot points that could trigger emotional trauma for those of a snowflake disposition.

This spring, Western Canada Theatre attached a warning to Children of God, a musical about residential schools, that indicates the production's mature and potentially triggering scenes involving residential schools and sexual abuse.

A subsequent production, Armstrong's War , a play about an Afghan War vet, came with the following advisory:

This hard-hitting yet inspiring drama about bravery and survival contains some potentially triggering content about the horrors of war and mental illness.

And unsurprisingly the trigger warnings have sparked a bit of a debate.

James MacDonald, artistic director of Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, B.C., is in favour of using trigger warnings where the material justifies it.

I think if we inform the audience beforehand, and they're not blindsided by it, then they don't have a negative reaction to it.

MacDonald said he saw a need for trigger warnings after his company staged a play that featured a scene of a daughter being sexually abused by her father. He said:

Even though we had put a content warning on the play to say that there was adult content and scenes which may disturb people, that particular scene evoked many reactions and responses from the audience, and they felt like they were blindsided by it.

For other theatre professionals, trigger warnings are the very antithesis of what theatre is designed to do: provoke reactions.

Montreal's Imago Theatre specializes in English-language plays written from women's perspectives and often features plays about challenging subject matter, like rape and violence against women. But there isn't a trigger warning anywhere in sight. Imago's artistic director Micheline Chevrier explains:

I think we have to be careful with trigger warnings. I'm not a fan of wanting to tell somebody exactly everything they're about to experience.

She worries trigger warnings are the first step toward avoidance of difficult material altogether, a slide into self-censorship by playwrights and directors afraid of offending patrons.

 

 

Updated: Not tippy-toeing around...

Performances of the Billy Elliot Musical in Hungary reduced after negative press campaign claiming it will turn kids gay

Link Here 27th June 2018
The Hungarian National Opera in Budapest has cancelled 15 performances of the musical Billy Elliot , blaming negative campaigning by the local media.

Daily newspaper Magyor Idok ran a series of stories claiming that the show could transform Hungarian boys into homosexuals, and another article said it promoted a deviant way of life.

Szilveszter Okovacs, director of the Hungary National Opera, told Hungarian site 444.hu: As you know, the negative campaign in recent weeks against the Billy Elliot production led to a big drop in ticket sales and for this reason we are cancelling 15 performances in line with the decision of our management.

The show will still play 24 other dates in the city, including one that is sold out.

Update: Billy Elliot gay propaganda row exposes purge in Hungary

27th June 2018. Thanks to Nick. See article from bbc.com

The attack on the head of the Hungarian State Opera was both crude and unexpected. And it came from the mouthpiece of the ruling Fidesz party, Magyar Idok.

Children who watched the opera's performance of the musical Billy Elliot were in danger of becoming homosexual, wrote Zsofia N Horvath in her opinion piece.Even the red stars used in the performance, in Budapest's cavernous Erkel theatre, were attacked in the show as banned symbols.

But another mystery entirely is that there is no known journalist called Zsofia N Horvath. The article fits into a new cultural offensive against the last liberals in a film, theatre and publishing world that is already dominated by Fidesz figures.

Since December the same publication, Magyar Idok, has featured a string of articles with targets including the head of the distinguished Petofi literary museum in Budapest, Gergely Pröhle. Jozsef Palinkas, the head of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office and a one-time Orban education minister, has been sacked.

All areas of cultural life should be purged of those who allow space for liberal, globalist, and cosmopolitan ideas, the writers suggest, including state News Agency MTI, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and even Petofi radio, a public service music channel.

 

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