I understand from the MSM that hundreds of people have been leaving a Royal Shakespeare Company‘s show early, during the interval in fact. When you hear of people leaving the theatre early you naturally come the logical conclusion that the play must be crap.
The MSM seem to think that it’s because the play is shocking, contains utter filth and depravity, scenes of water boarding and features a simulated sodomy. In these times when the execution of a leader of a country is shown in all it’s colourful glory it should be surprising that people are still upset by scenes of torture.
The papers make out that people have been going to the show without any knowledge of it’s content. The fact that the RSC sent out letters with all tickets indicating the graphic nature of the show is ignored. As is the fact that in going to see a play with references to the Marquis de Sade it is quite likely that you will see scenes of torture and other horrible stuff. Are theatre goers these days so uneducated that they haven’t heard of him, or even attempted to look him up before going to see the show. I doubt it.
The play was originally performed in 1963 before being translated from German with a run at the Aldwych Theatre in 1964 which starred Glenda Jackson. There was even a film version of it made in 1967 which included Jackson too. Even then it had critical reviews but came to be seen as a seminal production. I don’t know if there were reports of walk outs during the interval in it’s original showing but it likely there were. But then that was a time when UK society was changing as it recovered from the world wars and such shocking scenes were all new. The musical Hair was just as controversial at that time, now it’s just another play.
What could be happening is that people are just finding the show plain shite and walking out. Yes it’s probably because the show has scenes of torture, but more likely it’s because of the over the top nature of the rape and sodomy to the detriment of the story line. The overkill of the torture being there in an attempt to gain publicity.
But then when you have a newspaper to sell and you want to sell lots of copy and get lots of publicity for your paper you have to be controversial.