Oh, thou hast foul language!
ASPEN – A funny thing happened on the way to the Aspen District Theatre – the play Aspen High School’s drama department is staging this week was censored to reduce certain unwanted language.Specifically, according to two individuals involved in the production, the play that theatergoers see tonight, and for the next two nights, will differ from the original “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” in its use, or nonuse, of two words – “eunuch” and “virgin.””We took out most of the references” to eunuch, production manager Marnie White confirmed, adding that as the script now reads, “We only use it a couple of times.”As for “virgin,” it was altered to read “maiden,” which White explained is “a subtler way to put it.”White declined to say who ordered the alterations, explaining only that “we had some concerns expressed to us.”One of the principal actors in the production, senior Andy MacCracken, said the students knew of the alteration, but it was not much of a concern.”Obviously, the school has to be protective of content for students,” he said. “It doesn’t affect the show very much.” He said the actors never saw the original script.He added that the school’s decision to alter the script “drew more attention to the word [eunuch] itself.””Eunuch,” a word with ancient origins, originally described a castrated male who served as a guard for royal harems, or as a chamberlain to royalty, mainly in the Orient or Middle East. More recent usage has broadened that meaning somewhat.MacCracken said many students were unfamiliar with the word, explaining that in his IB physics class, only two of the students were able to offer an accurate definition.Although the excised language does not appear often in the play, an online synopsis of the script points out, for example, that a certain character, Marcus Lycus (actor Tucker Eason), is “in trouble for selling dud eunuchs and dud virgins.”Principal Charlie Anastas got an advance copy of the script for approval, White said, because “We just wanted to make sure he was comfortable with it. We always try and make sure that everything we do is appropriate for students.”Anastas did not respond to questions from The Aspen Times about the play.
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