• Richard Finkelstein

    Working in TYA for nearly 50 years I have run across some quite silly examples. A few years ago I was designing 1776 at a regional TYA company. The director was a Tony Award winner for the Show’s Broadway Debut (though not as director). As a TYA theatre each production hosted a teacher inservice to which us designers too would attend if we were in town by then. On my arrival I was warned that some were objecting to the word “saltpeter” (a mineral, one of the 3 ingredients of gun powder). I thought it was a joke, but after the inservice a public school teacher approached me personally to ask…..”Is it true the show features the word ‘saltpeter’?”. I did a double take only later thinking up what a perfect retort might have been: “You must have a real issue too then with SAINT Peter!”

  • chrismarlowe

    Excellent article. I perform a one-man Thomas Jefferson show (90% in a vibrant Q&A) and I’ve run into the idiocy of “don’t use the word slavery, lest you upset some of the audience.” When did we lose our sense of outrage coupled with the reality that there is plenty of problems out there that need to be addressed head-on. Children don’t need to be coddled; they need to be challenged. While as a critic I didn’t care for WALKING THE TIGHTROPE and HANSEL/GRETEL/DEPRESSION., I respected what the artists were trying to communicate. We don’t prepare our children for their future by lying to them, or withholding information they need. Long live quality Theatre for Young Audiences!

  • countervail

    I played Tesmand in Hedda Gabler as a 17 year-old so the lines are already blurred for me.

  • ren_man

    study the research of Bruno Bettelheim.
    Look at those classic Grimm fairy tales — they are grim to say the least.

    American culture is schizophrenic in how it treats children.
    Seen some dance recitals recently?
    The clothes children can buy?
    Highly sexualize all the way down to tiny tots.
    “Lolita” is a-okay it seems.

    After that, tho’, it’s over protect their “innocent” little selves to the point of denying the real world the children inhabit and the plays comment upon by sanitizing everything to the point it’s sugar-coated pap.

    Time to get Grimmly grim I think.