It’s always something nowadays.
A pre-college summer camp held at the University of Wyoming for the benefit of high school students turned into a source of great consternation for those same kids when they attended the university theatre department’s production of the storied Broadway musical The Fantasticks. According to the website Heat Street, the students went as far as to walk out on the presentation because they found the content to be “deeply offensive” and “triggering.”
Remember…this is The Fantasticks we’re talking about here, which holds the record as the world’s longest-running musical.
Anyway, it seems the students were “triggered” by the fact that characters dress up like Native Americans – because, of course, you can’t do THAT any longer - as well as by a song in the play that repeatedly references “rape.”
In the play, which is about two fathers going to great, contrived lengths to see their kids fall in love with one another, there is a song that employs the word “rape” in terms of its archaic definition: abduction. Part of the fathers’ plan to see their kids together involves staging an abduction of the daughter, Luisa, so that the boy, Matt, can heroically save her.
Well, that was enough for the kiddies, who now, courtesy of the wealth of bizarre narratives that basically are social media, can’t seem to walk a block without being offended at something, and moreover, find it thoroughly impossible to view anything in terms of the historical context in which it was intended to be portrayed.
Wyoming’s Department of Theatre and Dance was quick to be accommodating to the little darlings, of course, and has since added what can only be described as a “trigger warning” to the play’s program:
“With historical productions, we see ‘a point in time,’ which is different from the one in which we live. We see portrayals of characters that are painful to watch as 21st century audiences. The challenge, then, in producing historical works, is to help audiences understand the context and/or story for the play without taking undue or illegal liberties with the script.”
Everybody better now?
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large