Charles McNulty on Depictions of Violence in Theater

In this compelling article, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic McNulty discusses the controversial topic of violence in theater. Here is a sample:

What is the line between acceptable and unacceptable violence in art? If gruesomeness is the criterion, much of Jacobean drama would have to be banned, including Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” with its graphic scene of Gloucester’s eyes being mercilessly plucked out. Some may believe they can identify pornography at a glance, but violence places keener demands on our sensibilities. Its artistic validity isn’t a function of how many liters of blood are spilled or how many limbs are dismembered. The question is one of gratuitousness. Or to put it another way: How does the brutality fit into a work’s larger vision?

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… and since we are on the topic of theater, do not forget to look into the upcoming “Penelopiad” performance at the Boston Center for the Arts!! For more information, visit

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