Anorak News | Peck Me Kate

Peck Me Kate

by | 17th, February 2006

‘HOLD it. Let’s not get carried away. Sure, Romeo kills himself in the end, drinking poison, but he doesn’t really have to it. Fill the deadly vial with Vimto, dear teacher, it’ll taste like death and, very possibly, spare you a jail term and much weeping, angry parents.

And then there is the kiss. Try not to. As the Times reports, guidance issued to teachers calls upon them to cut love scenes containing any “intimate physical contact”.

So when Romeo turns to his beloved Juliet and asks for a final kiss before death’s cold embrace swallows him up, she should offer him a simple peck on the cheek. Or, better, yet, she should kiss her hand and blow on it.

As guidance by the National Assembly for Wales, says: “In the past some unscrupulous drama teachers have used the integrity of the play as an argument to provide cover for their abusive practices.”

Teachers like John Owen, a drama teacher at Pontypridd, Wales, who was accused of using the play Equus to encourage pupils to engage in sexual activities. (A day before Mr Owen was set to appear in court in 2001, he killed himself.)

The advice continues: “Drama teachers must cut or adapt plays if they have to in order to protect children and young people. [They] should . . . not rely on arguments about the artistic integrity of the text.”

So kissing is out. As is nudity, even if it is all done in the best possible taste. And as for Miss Hardy’s version of Caligula, we advise a rewrite, and for the horse to be cancelled. Working with children and animals has never looked more fraught with danger.

But care must be taken. As Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, says: “It shields children from something they don’t need to be shielded from. The more they understand about love and passion, the better. Shakespeare treats it with sensitivity and compassion. He teaches children an important part of human emotion.”

Quite so. But in Shakespeare’s day, there weren’t so many school plays. And, what’s more, there were no sexual predators. Shakespeare’s time were a period of rare innocence.

So, perhaps, we should return to such halcyon days. Let’s ban the kiss. Outlaw the embrace. Neuter the orgy scene. Indeed, let’s do as they did in the Bard’s day and give all the female parts to boys and men. What could be more wholesome?’

Posted: 17th, February 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink