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While Shakespeare is credited with having introduced many words to the English language, the word “woke” first appeared long after his time. But that hasn’t stopped the new political agenda from inflicting its rules on his works.
The Almeida Theatre in London has posted a “content warning” on its booking page for the production, which began earlier this week, notifying potential audience members of the play’s “extreme scenes”.
“This production includes extreme scenes of violence, including violence against children, suicide, and the use of blood, firearms and knives,” it said.
“It also contains flashing lights, vaping and the smoking of real cigarettes.”
It tells those with “specific concerns” about the production to contact the Box Office.
Those who feel as though they have been “affected by any of the issues raised in this production” are told to call Samaritans, a UK charity which offers support to those struggling to cope or those at risk of suicidal thoughts.
This is despite there being scant evidence on the effectiveness of “trigger warnings”.
After looking over a range of psychological research, Jeannie Suk Gersen, a professor of law at Harvard Law School, wrote in The New Yorker that, in spite of their stated aim, these warnings “do not seem to lessen negative reactions to disturbing material in students, trauma survivors, or those diagnosed with PTSD”.
“Indeed, some studies suggest that the opposite may be true,” she added.
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Macbeth is merely the latest – rather than the first – of Shakespeare’s works to come into the sight of the woke lobby.
The Globe Theatre in London attached a similar warning to a production of Romeo and Juliet earlier this year.
Seasoned actor Christopher Biggins, quoted in The Times, slammed this as “insulting to the mentality of theatregoers”.
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“Controversial” themes through Shakespeare’s works appear to be taken even more seriously in the US, where an increasing number of teachers are refusing to study the writing altogether.
This is because many of Shakespeare’s works promote “misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir”, according to the New York Post.
“Misogynoir” is described by Forbes as a unique form of discrimination faced by black women.
Theatre critic Dominic Cavendish wrote recently in the Telegraph that “Shakespeare performance has increasingly marched to a ‘woke’ drum” over the past few years.
“But if woke continues its ascendancy, the logic of its fault-finding mission (fraught with tensions between specificity and inclusivity) will render our national playwright as much taboo as totemic.”
Express.co.uk have contacted the Almeida Theatre for comment.
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