Monday, February 20, 2006

Now, Romeo can't kiss Juliet!

Kisses in British school plays could soon become a thing of the past if proposed guidelines for staging drama productions come into force.

If approved, Romeo would no longer kiss his beloved goodbye in Shakepeare's immortal tragedy 'Romeo and Juliet' and will have to make do with more chaste gestures.

The guidelines, being considered by educational organisations, suggest that stage directions for characters to kiss should be replaced with "a peck on the cheeks or an embrace," a report in 'The Times' said today.

Characters may also "hug each other in friendship".

Among productions considered too risque for schools were Grease, The Taming of the Shrew and The Playboy of the Western World.

The report said these guidelines would be considered by Welsh education professionals and have been suggested to prevent inappropriate sexual behaviour in school productions.

"In the past some unscrupulous drama teachers have used the integrity of the play as an argument to provide cover for their abusive practices," the guidelines said.

"Drama teachers must cut or adapt plays if they have to in order to protect children and young people. (They) should ... Not rely on arguments about the artistic integrity of the text," they added.

However, critics of the proposed guidelines said teachers should beware of sanitising productions.

"The more (children) understand about love and passion, the better," said Dominic Dromgoogle, artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe theatre, adding that the 16th-century playwright treated the subject with sensitivity and compassion.

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