Nudity and Violence
October 24, 2011 3:55pm CST
In a film we are used to the ratings that warn us that we might be about to see something that we find uncomfortable - or not. We seem quite oblivious to all but the most graphic of bloodlust scenes and instances of extreme violence, torture, rape and murder are accepted as part of the entertainment. But when these things move to the stage we suddenly become squeamish and shocked. Take the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Marat/Sade. A play within a play about the filming of the story of Jean Marat directed by the Marquis de Sade set in a lunatic asylum. As many as 80 people have walked out of a single performance shocked and horrified by what they feel is a distrubing production. Is this a double standard. Are theatre goers more susceptible to the shock tactics that film audiences take in their stride. Perhaps this is just the "cultured" masses revolting, their sensitivities outraged?
3 people like this
• United States
24 Oct 11
Could it be that live acting seems much more real then actually viewing it on the screen? Maybe the live acting is much more felt then it is when it is a movie we can pause, stop and or walk out of. In the theater most people will not walk off until intermission, so they have no choice but to sit through it. I am not sure as both scare the bee g's out of me. My boyfriend is an actor and can view them either live and or on the screen with no problem.
• Gloucester City, New Jersey
24 Oct 11
I'd be interested in knowing if these theater goers were also viewers of violent cinema. If not, they may have a lower threshold of tolerance for unnecessary and graphic violence than those who have grown immune to such sights. In many ways, I envy them that. It seems the world has grown so used to graphic expressions of acts of violence that we don't even budge when those things happen in real life.
24 Oct 11
The article that I read didn't say whether they were also viewers of violent films etc. Perhaps on the screen we are detached in a way that we are not when in the theatre. You are right though. We are very accepting of images that in real life would traumatise us.
• United Kingdom
26 Oct 11
I don't know really. Perhaps it is a simple fact that the film-goers and the theatre-goers are entirely different groups of people and neither would necessarily do the other. However, if they were the same people then, yes, that is a double standard. If a film and a play show the same kinds of scenes, I don't see why one would be acceptable and the other not unless, perhaps, it is the closeness. With a film, it is on a screen and completely separate from reality, whereas a play is more intimate and theatre does tend to evoke emotion much more than film. Maybe that's what it is all about. Or maybe the film-goers are just less sensitive towards such things but theatre-goers expect all fluff and feathers. Or maybe people who see both a film and a play seem to expect the film to be really gory but think the play should be softer. I really don't know. I do, however, think that if a person has no problem seeing violence on a screen, they should not have a problem seeing the same on stage.
• United States
26 Oct 11
ya know, there's something about the distance that a film on a screen gives some people - there they know it isn't real, that a live person on a stage doesn't give... I know people that can immerse themselves more into a film because they can see the stage settings and know the people are only acting, but other's who are the other way around. I think these people are those who can't distance themselves from the action on the stage where they can from a film Both are "safe" for some, but live people aren't so safe for those who can't distance themselves. I have trouble with certain of my fears, Poltergeist gave me nightmares several times and that was watching it on TV! I do like both formats, and don't find the distance a problem, but this play probably wouldn't be one I'd go to anyway...
25 Oct 11
I am intrigued by this news. I have long believed that increasing violence in film and computer games lessens people's reaction to violence and even makes violence much easier for them to commit, eg. the new fight clubs in schools. It is interesting that seeing real people acting out such violence can still have an impact. I wonder if we stopped showing any violence in any form would our society become less violent. Just look at the recent riots in the UK. That would have been unthinkable when I was a youngster. People were not violent like that, there was no road rage, there appear to be less rapes, people could walk home without fearing being attacked at least in most places. It must have an impact. I have books written by the Marquis de Sade but I found I could not read them. I found the content horrific. I cannot imagine what it would be like to see someone doing this on stage. I do not watch horror movies or read horror books either. I see nothing wrong with squeamish and wish that more people were like that and then they might stop pushing violence in film, games and books etc.
25 Oct 11
I find de Sade unfathomable too. Buit then I'm not great about Shakespeare either being something of an anti-Stratfordian. I do think that we are becoming inured to violence because of the amount that is freely available on screen nowadays. I am not sure that most of the people that walked out were truly that censorious. Perhaps a little "look at me" instead.
27 Oct 11
If that is the case then it is a very scary place indeed. I know that I have a temper and sometimes I get so mad that I want to hit something. I have defended myself more than once and surprised my attackers who thought I was a wussy b#tch who would never fight back. The thing is that society is what keeps human violence under control. We were raised with strong internal blocks. I find that this is lacking in society today. Some of the young of today do not respect anything and the number who are like this seems to be growing. It could lead to a very violent future.