The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0002 Sunday, 2 January 2005
Date: Thursday, 30 Dec 2004 12:59:49 -0500
Subject: Censorship of Gay Shakespeare in Alabama?
'We have to protect people'
President Bush wants 'pro-homosexual' drama banned. Gary Taylor meets
the politician in charge of making it happen
Thursday December 9, 2004
. . . . .But more than one gay playwright is at a stake here. AL
Representative Gerald Allen claims he is acting to "encourage and
protect our culture". Does "our culture" include Shakespeare? I ask
Allen if he would insist that copies of Shakespeare's sonnets be removed
from all public libraries. I point out to him that Romeo and Juliet was
originally performed by an all-male cast, and that in Shakespeare's
lifetime actors and audiences at the public theatres were all accused of
being "sodomites". When Romeo wished he "was a glove upon that hand",
the cheek that he fantasised about kissing was a male cheek. Next March
the Alabama Shakespeare festival will be performing a new production of
As You Like It, and its famous scene of a man wooing another man. The
Alabama Shakespeare Festival is also the State Theatre of Alabama. Would
Allen's bill cut off state funding for Shakespeare?
"Well," he begins, after a pause, "the current draft of the bill does
not address how that is going to be handled. I expect details like that
to be worked out at the committee stage. Literature like Shakespeare and
Hammet [sic] could be left alone." Could be. Not "would be". In any
case, he says, "you could tone it down". That way, if you're not paying
real close attention, even a college graduate like Allen himself "could
easily miss" what was going on, the "subtle" innuendoes and all.
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