As an informed audience member and professional theatre artist who saw the production, I was very curious to hear how some rumors (based solely on hearsay—no one had yet seen the offending elements) led to the censorship of a splendid contemporary interpretation of a classic play that was much less racey than what you might see on television, film or MTV.
Apart from the fact that it was given a standing ovation by high school audiences (proof that theatre can be—and has to be relevant to people of all ages and from all backgrounds) this production was fun, witty theatrical and demonstrated a profound understanding of Shakespeare. The so-called “vagina” was in fact an elegant chair that looked like a beautiful flower. The fact that other elements were eliminated before they were even built, is a demonstration that gossip can lead to destructive assumptions.
In addition to being rumors being based entirely on hearsay, they were also a product of a widespread lack of education. So-called “theatre professionals” were up in arms when they heard a rap in which the word “cock” was featured. These “professionals” (who clearly had never read Shakespeare) did not know that those words were the playwright’s own, and that the word cock in fact means rooster—of course the word has a double entendre—a device Shakespeare frequently used and which the director very skillfully employed in his own production. All sexual elements were stylized, comical and were in homage of the script—there was nothing gratuitous or licentious at all.
Ultimately the misunderstanding is reminds me of the old adage: When you assume things, you make an—donkey (to avoid using a synonym often used by Shakespeare that may offend the same public that censored the production!) out of you and me.