Author Topic: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!  (Read 2178 times)

John P

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 692
    • View Profile
    • My naturist page
After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« on: May 07, 2017, 07:22:48 PM »
We've got a little scandal going, concerning nudity in an artistic performance, and it's so much fun!
http://www.wbur.org/artery/2017/05/06/nudity-bct-cuckoos-nest

What seems to have happened is that there's a production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" at Boston Children's Theater, and it involves a nude scene. "There were signs in the theater warning about nudity and a notice on the website that no one under 14 would be admitted" but apparently that wasn't enough for some, and the executive artistic director has been suspended, or fired, it's not clear which.

We don't get nearly enough of this kind of modern drama around here. If only the Watch and Ward Society were still around to make their contribution!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watch_and_Ward_Society

Bob Knows

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1400
  • Human bodies are natural, comfortable, and green.
    • View Profile
    • Greenbare Photos
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 09:55:47 PM »
That is sad.  Systematically depriving children of an opportunity to observe and learn about their own species and therefore themselves is harmful and hurtful to children.
Human bodies are natural, comfortable, and green.
To see more of Bob you can view his personal photo page
http://www.photos.bradkemp.com/greenbare.html

Kayaker2

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2017, 12:28:36 AM »
Well I guess it was the context, the character "exposing himself to the evil nurse" being the cause of uproar.  That doesn't help matters much for artistic expression involving nudity.  If the intent was for shock value to the nurse character then I have to any say.  If it was just a casual exposure (yes, pun) then no big deal. 

Interesting article John P

John P

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 692
    • View Profile
    • My naturist page
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2017, 04:35:41 AM »
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" has a variety of what might be called "mature themes"; in Wikipedia it says it's a "study of the institutional processes and the human mind as well as a critique of behaviorism and a celebration of humanistic principles". I'd add something about relations between women and men (from what's now a very old-fashioned viewpoint). It's evidently got a history of being removed from school libraries and reading lists, but it's also evidently frequently been on those reading lists.

What I'm getting at is that presenting this play to young people isn't a new idea, but it's been controversial. However, what seems to be proved in Boston is that if nudity is involved, it instantly goes to the top of the list of problems!

eyesup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2318
    • View Profile
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2017, 07:20:38 PM »
I've read 'Cuckoo's Nest' and 'Sometimes A Great Notion' and Kesey's themes in both had more to do with the contest between the individual and the government and corporate machines that are operating in full gear. Both were good reads.

His method of gathering information for his writing was tripping out and attempting to look for answers in the experience. I guess this made for great theater but little in actual results.

The only nude scene I remember in the book was when McMurphy arranged for Billy to lose his virginity. I don't recall the scene described in the article, but I would have to reread 'Cuckoo' again to see if that is what happened.

Nudity for shock value is ok if that is your only intent. It takes away from a good performance.

Duane

nudewalker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 671
  • Normal is a setting on a dryer!
    • View Profile
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2017, 05:22:33 PM »
The teacher who got me interested in theater, quite a long time ago, told me they put the tagline "Banned in Boston" as sort of a disclaimer that the subject content could be considered risque. She had a few posters in her office with strips of paper glued on stating such. Before the current movie rating system the Catholic Church would post a listing from the "Legion of Decency" rating movies. To us guys it was a guide as to which movies to sneak into at the local drive in!

Just for clarity, the one poster I remember after all these years is Eugene O'Neil"s "Desire under the Elms".
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 06:40:13 PM by nudewalker »
"Always do what you are afraid to do"-Emerson

John P

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 692
    • View Profile
    • My naturist page
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2017, 06:53:01 PM »
Depending on your outlook, "Banned in Boston" could have been taken as a warning, or as an inducement to put down your money! Back in the long-ago days, when it wasn't so easy to advertise sexual content, it was useful to have a code that people would understand.

It's talked about in the link I included to the Watch and Ward Society. And here's a link, in the form of an obituary, to a story about the last  censor (officially the chief of the Licensing Division) for the City of Boston. The job was eliminated in 1982.
http://articles.latimes.com/2003/may/05/local/me-sinnott5

eyesup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2318
    • View Profile
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2017, 07:38:26 PM »
Quote
The nudity in "Hair" apparently didn't bother Sinnott so much.
"The nude scene was pathetic; there wasn't a beautiful body in the whole bunch," he once recalled.

Beauty being in the eye of the beholder didn't count for much.
Apparently Mr. Sinnott's view of beauty was the standard. Maybe with so many Brahmins wondering what to think, his was the most palatable.

Duane

Bob Knows

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1400
  • Human bodies are natural, comfortable, and green.
    • View Profile
    • Greenbare Photos
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 11:15:36 PM »
Quote
The nudity in "Hair" apparently didn't bother Sinnott so much.

"The nude scene was pathetic; there wasn't a beautiful body in the whole bunch," he once recalled.

Is Ms. Sinnott against nudity, or only against beautiful people?   Are ordinary looking people OK to go naked but not beautiful people?   

I saw Hair when it came to Seattle in the 1960s.  It was a play about the Viet Nam war and all the jokes were topical.   The actors in the nude scene were all young, healthy, and athletic build people.  I'm not sure what qualifies as "beautiful" for Ms. Snnoty. 

I saw a reproduction of Hair a couple of decades later.  They had tried to update the humor but none of the jokes worked and the whole theme was irrelevant.  The reproduction was out of context and a total flop.

Bob



Human bodies are natural, comfortable, and green.
To see more of Bob you can view his personal photo page
http://www.photos.bradkemp.com/greenbare.html

nudewalker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 671
  • Normal is a setting on a dryer!
    • View Profile
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2017, 04:53:43 PM »
The redo's of "Hair" have been a disaster. As for the "beautiful" people, typical response from a textile; if they're not up to my standard then they shouldn't be seen. And you're right John P, the "Banned in Boston" was used outside of Boston as a code to induce people to put down money to see or hear some risque performance. Or even to help book sales!
"Always do what you are afraid to do"-Emerson

John P

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 692
    • View Profile
    • My naturist page
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2017, 07:17:23 PM »
Bob, I don't know where you got "Ms Sinnott" from. The article makes it quite clear that the Last Censor was male.

It's actually quite interesting that he let "Hair" pass on the grounds that the actors weren't attractive! Presumably he had the notion that something pornographic would show pretty people, therefore it wasn't porn. Or maybe he just didn't care any more, as long as his salary was paid. Censors may not work harder than any other employee.

But speaking of "Hair", I wouldn't say that "The redo's of "Hair" have been a disaster" (Hairdos, anyone?) I saw the show in London when I was 18, and it certainly made an impact on me then. But much later, it was performed at a local community theater, and my wife and I went. Some of it seemed irrelevant, and the idea of young people rebelling seems bizarre now, but parts of it are pretty clever, and of course there is the NUDE SCENE that might enthrall a teenager even now.

I actually looked for the point in the plot where they all get naked (it only happens once). It's where the tribe is having a be-in in a park one night, and the police arrive (they're never on stage: it's suggested with flashing blue lights and voices over radios and loudspeakers) and tell the group to disperse, and they all take their clothes off as an act of defiance. Maybe a little bit like Randle McMurphy with Nurse Ratched!

Latest news from Boston Children's Theater is that the artistic director was reinstated, and two members of the governing board who objected to the nudity have resigned. Reports say most public responses have been in favor of the uncut performance.

Bob Knows

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1400
  • Human bodies are natural, comfortable, and green.
    • View Profile
    • Greenbare Photos
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2017, 08:14:22 PM »
Latest news from Boston Children's Theater is that the artistic director was reinstated, and two members of the governing board who objected to the nudity have resigned. Reports say most public responses have been in favor of the uncut performance.

Glad to hear that Ms. Snotty and friends were given the boot and nudity is back on stage.

I never read or watched Cuckoo’s Nest.  It always sounded like a droll critique of nut houses.  Maybe it was better than that. 

Bob


Human bodies are natural, comfortable, and green.
To see more of Bob you can view his personal photo page
http://www.photos.bradkemp.com/greenbare.html

jbeegoode

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3281
    • View Profile
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2017, 04:52:27 AM »
JUstice! For the sake of art, free expression,  there ultimately was justice. Very cool. The uptight board embers on all boards should quit. Prudes should quit. Horrah!

"One Flew over the Cucoo's Nest" is a fun read. Age 17, i remember staying up reading it until I was done past the next sunrise. Wonderful book, that I recommend. The movie was good, but as it goes, not the book.

As for "Hair" I saw it in Vegas at about age 18. A cute blonde in it was talking to me before the performance, when she saw my kaibob knee high Geronimo moccasins under my incongruent coat and tie with plaid pants and bright green blazer (ala used car salesman of the era). During the performance she came to me, attempting to get me up on stage naked and dance with them, which was part of the show, "happening" like. Believe it or not, 18 year old Jbee couldn't bring himself to do that!?! HE considered it, knew that it was going to happen, even had the hots for this cute friendly blonde, but failed the test.
Jbee
Barefoot all over, all over.

John P

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 692
    • View Profile
    • My naturist page
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2017, 07:28:16 PM »
Unfortunately the resolution of the problems at Boston Children's Theater hasn't really happened, and there are lawyers involved now. It's more a matter of organization politics than anything else, but here are the details as of today:
https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater/dance/2017/05/11/boston-children-theatre-crisis-deepens/M9qXsaBLngpRJUypsnweOO/story.html

eyesup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2318
    • View Profile
Re: After all these years, "Banned in Boston"!
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2017, 06:52:52 PM »
Quote from: Bob Knows
I never read or watched Cuckoo’s Nest.  It always sounded like a droll critique of nut houses.  Maybe it was better than that.
Having read both Cuckoo and Notion, both when I was in college, they resonated with me for the rejection of authority being used as a tool for enforcing conformity.

These two stories were about standing against conformity. Legal, cultural and social. There are good laws and bad. As Lincoln observed, enforce a bad law to the letter and people will up and change it. This works for other protests too.

I liked both the books and the movies. Even though as Jbee points out, the movies are not faithful to the letter of the books, but do mirror the messages of the book. I have read that Kesey didn't like the Hollywood treatment of Cuckoo's Nest.

Duane