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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Re: Romeo Is Banished
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1595  Tuesday, 12 August 2003

[1]     From:   Michael Luskin <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Aug 2003 10:39:12 EDT
        Subj:   SHK 14.1585 Romeo Is Banished

[2]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Aug 2003 15:54:28 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1585 Romeo Is Banished

[3]     From:   Mark Adderley <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Aug 2003 11:44:32 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.1585 Romeo Is Banished


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Luskin <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Aug 2003 10:39:12 EDT
Subject: Romeo Is Banished
Comment:        SHK 14.1585 Romeo Is Banished

It does seem just a little silly for a chief of police to argue against
Romeo and Juliet's production as a precursor to suicides, BUT.  If he is
correct, and a significant number of suicides mention RJ, it seems that
this argues for the power and importance of the play, and that in a
sense it shows how important the play actually is.

In addition, in the nineteenth century, Goethe's The Sorrows of Young
Werther was very influential.  When parents of upper class families saw
their sons dressing in pale blue suits (what Werther always wore), after
having read the book, they went on suicide watch, and went to great
lengths to amuse their sons.  Goethe also wrote Hermann und Dorothea, a
long poem dealing with issues of the calm of Germany and the uproar of
the French revolution.  It became enormously successful and influential
and was often cited as an artistic argument for the conservative
reaction after the end of the French revolution.

It seems to me that we should in some sense be pleased that the chief of
police sees the power of the play.  People are reading it, people are
understanding it at some level.

mbl

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Aug 2003 15:54:28 +0100
Subject: 14.1585 Romeo Is Banished
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1585 Romeo Is Banished

I've heard of PC, but surely that is Monty Pythin territory!

Down that road, much more sinisterly, is to suggest that no Shakespeare
political play should be performed in an area on the grounds that some
in-power political group, or an aspiring political group could complain
that it is being held up for censure or ridicule? Shades of eastern bloc
pre-fall of communism in which the Scottish Play was seen as very, very
dangerously subversive.

On the basis of your Chief of Police's objections, let's start going
through the canon to see which of Shakespeare's plays COULD be performed
without upsetting someone? Don't think you'll get very far.

Sorry, I think that that R and J objection is completely amazing.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Adderley <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Aug 2003 11:44:32 -0500
Subject: 14.1585 Romeo Is Banished
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.1585 Romeo Is Banished

>Mark Adderley (14.1570) writes from the land of the brave and the home
>of the free:
>
>[...]A year and a half ago, we shelved plans to perform "Romeo and
>Juliet" because the local Chief of Police pointed out to me that the
>play is cited in a statistically significant number of teen suicide
>letters.[...] for a local group like mine, keeping the Chief of Police
>happy with us is far more important than performing the play we wanted
>to.[...]" The sight of which is dismal and the mind is senseless that
>told him his commandment was fulfilled. Are you mad my masters? Or what?
>Are you?
>
>Methinks that you should give your Constable the Elbow.
>
>Censoriously,
>Graham Hall

Well, we haven't abandoned the ideas completely.  Since then, we've
moved to another area, and we've worked on some ideas for workshops with
the high-school students that are our main audience.  At my previous
college, the suicide rate at the local high school was well above the
national average (one of the many reasons we moved).  Our production of
R&J is going ahead after Christmas.  I don't feel like I've been
censored - more like I've been given a chance to avoid an awful
situation.

Mark Adderley
Missouri Valley College

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