Thursday, April 26, 2007
Yale Deans Do About Face on Prop Weapons in Plays
Here's a real "Looney Toon" for you! Last week, in the wake of the VA Tech shootings, administrators at Yale University, decreed that realistic prop weapons would henceforth be banned from university theatrical productions. The reasoning process that permitted this action at one of our supposedly top universities provides no reassurance about the state of modern academia. I suppose it is conceivable that substituting a red plastic revolver for one that looks authentic or a wooden sword for a metal one will somehow keep a maniac from murdering several of his fellow human beings, but in a country in which many citizens fight background checks and even registration of real weapons and are increasingly allowing real ones to be carried concealed on the streets, a move to ban a fake weapon in a play seems ironic at best and nonsensical at the worst. It would seem to me that the Bard had it right when he observed that the actor holds the mirror up to nature not the other way around. Thank God the Yale Deans recovered their senses within a week and rescinded the ban. Unfortunately, theatre producers will apparently still be required to notify audiences if weapons are to be used in a show. In the long run I guess that is better than being required to rewrite Hamlet to climax with a deadly duel of Rock-Paper-Scissors.