A wooden performance

May 4, 2007

The quality of theatre productions in American universities has been jeopardised by the recent shootings at Virginia Tech, it would appear.

Six hours before the opening night of a Yale University student play set in the Middle Ages, an administrator decreed that no weapons could be used or portrayed during theatrical productions.

The play, Red Roses , included stage props of metal swords and daggers, but no guns. Sarah Holdren, the play's director, called the measures "ineffective" and bemoaned the limitation on artistic expression.

The university eventually agreed to allow weapons that were obviously fake to appear on stage, so the show opened with wooden swords and peeved cast members.

But Holdren made her point to the audience before the play began, declaring: "We cannot cure the violence of this world by limiting the artistic creations that seek to address it. Red Roses is a play about hope, joy and fellowship in the face of death and injustice."

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