Dare I say it. Times they are changing. How do I know it? Well at one time the Old Howard was prohibited from showing nudity during its routines. You know about banned in Boston. It was only a Boston thing though and in 1953 the Old Howard was closed when Rose la Rose, shown seated, was accused of having been nude just at the end of her strip tease act .
It appears in other parts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts nudity was accepted. In Provincetown over a century ago if this article is correct Louise Bryant, a woman who led an interesting life, appeared nude in a play put on by the Provincetown Players.
I assume Boston has now caught up with P Town. I really don’t know because I have not been to a play recently. And, before going I’d read about it. If it had nudity I would skip it. It’s not my cup of tea. But that is just me and if others liked it so be it.
I read that right now the Boston Children’s Theater is having a 21-year-old guy parade around on the stage for about half-minute totally bollocky after an 18-year-old high school girl tells him to take off his towel. Now I’d have no objection to this if the theater did not bill itself as a children’s theater. I’d suggest it might want to changed it perhaps “the New Old Howard.”
This theater advertises itself as “Boston’s Theater for Young People.” In the play that it is presently on stage the ages of the cast range from 15 to 25. I suppose it would be a fair question to ask: “where are the young people?”
I know about this because the Globe’s theater critic Don Aucoin apparently received a call from the director of the show Burgess Clark who told him he had been laid off because of the nudity scene. That was untrue. According to the chairman of the board it did not fire or let Clark go nor did it censor him. Two of the directors were concerned about nudity in a children’s theater (I wonder why?) and they were discussing it.
Clark, though, in a fit of pique yelled censorship because the directors did not think nudity was OK around children. He threatened to resign because of what he called, “unacceptable interference with artistic prerogatives.” Then he makes the profound observation, “Censorship is a much larger issue than one organization. If I lose my job, it was worth it.” What billiance! What fortitude!
Aucoin is on Clark’s side. They have a previous relationship. Aucoin called his play about a boy who wanted to bring a boy to his prom an “incisive adaption” of a book which produced a “fine play” noting: “Clark deserves credit for challenging his audience with tough-minded subject matter and trying to expand the definition of “children’s theater.”
It seemed to me that Clark is not so much expanding the definition of children’s theater but the definition of children. Lead actors age 18 and 21 and others up to 25-years-old are not children. Perhaps because Obamacare requires parents’ insurance to cover children up to 26-years-old Clark thinks he too can make those in their early twenties into children.
Aucoin then proceeds to ask one of the dumbest questions I’ve ever heard. It is something that I’d expect a member of NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association which in telling who they are writes: “Boy-lovers and boys alike respond to the needs of those they love — needs for affection, understanding, and freedom.”) He queries: “whether there should be limits on freedom of expression in a children’s theater?”
It would be my hope that all would know that children are children and they need to be protected from certain things until they reach a certain level of maturity. Some places believe that applies to persons under 18-years-of-age. See here. A theater that advertises itself as a children’s theater should not be able to present whatever it desires but must limit itself to what is appropriate for children.
Apparently Director Burgess Clark who was hired nine or more years ago is slowly chafing at the bit that limits him to working with children. If that is the case he should remove the bit and get out from under the children’s cover and get a job in adult theater. He should not be pushing the boundaries to where he can corrupt the youth by putting before children things they are not capable of handling.
As for Aucoin I’d just say he should know better. If a society cannot protect its children then it has failed.