I’ve been to Fulton, Missouri. It’s close to Columbia, home of the main campus of the University of Missouri. Winston Churchill delivered the famous “iron curtain” speech there, which is its chief claim to fame. Like most little Missouri towns it’s very conservative and very insulated.
But this spring, high school students in Fulton will be presenting a shockingly provocative play. A play featuring juvenile runaways, couple swapping, and the wanton seduction of a human-animal creature (A hybrid? Who can say?) by a supernatural pagan female.
The town of Fulton is outraged. But not about the play described above, a sexy romp called “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by some guy named Shakespeare. No, they’re messed up because the high school dramatists produced a sanitized version of “Grease.”
The drama teacher cleaned up profanity and substituted standard tobacco cigarettes for “weed.” But that wasn’t good enough. According to Diana Jean Schemo of the New York Times, a few people complained
… that scenes of drinking, smoking and a couple kissing went too far, and glorified conduct that the community tries to discourage. One letter, from someone who had not seen the show but only heard about it, criticized “immoral behavior veiled behind the excuse of acting out a play.”
The school has cancelled a production of “The Crucible” (of course) and will produce “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” instead. So instead of pilgrims battling witchcraft (the Fultonites won’t know it’s an allegory if nobody tells ’em) they’ll produce what is, essentially, a sex farce. Will the drama teacher edit out some of Bill S.’s more obvious double entendres? And will Titania still seduce Bottom, or will she take him to an all-night revival?
What Puck said: “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”