Students say they can get out of ‘upsetting’ lecture on Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’
- Trinity St David, University of Wales issued directives for many plays
- Last night, the country’s top Shakespearean actors lashed out at the move
With a transvestite heroine and a tale of mistaken identity, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night has entertained audiences for four centuries.
However, the romantic comedy is now subject to a so-called “content warning” by a university, which allows students to drop classes on the play if they decide that the romantic entanglement will adversely affect their “well-being.”
The University of Wales, Trinity St David has issued a directive for an English degree course module including “Twelfth Night” and three other plays by the Bard.
Last night, some of the country’s finest Shakespearean actors lashed out at the move.
“This is just ridiculous,” said Good Life star Felicity Kendall, who played Viola in the BBC’s critically acclaimed Twelfth Night in 1980.
Photo: Felicity Kendall as Viola in the BBC acclaimed 1980 film Twelfth Night
Felicity said children shouldn’t be deterred from participating in these productions
“Good art is meant to challenge our senses, our emotions and our prejudices…should not prevent students from working on these works.”
Dame Janet Suzman, who starred in “Antony and Cleopatra,” “The Merchant of Venice,” and “Love Worker Lost,” also said she didn’t have time to describe it as “boring.”
Great art aims to challenge our senses
The University’s warning, a copy of which was obtained by the Times under the Freedom of Information Act, allows undergraduates studying “Errors and Sweet Violence: The Comedy and Tragedy of Shakespeare and the Renaissance” to “leave class, suspend activities, or take any steps necessary to preserve their health without the need for explanation or justification” if they are confronted with content they believe to be upsetting.
In addition to Twelfth Night, the warning covers Shakespeare’s plays Othello, Major for Major, and Coriolanus, as well as Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Edward II.
Believed to have been written between 1601 and 1602, Twelfth Night tells the story of twins Viola and Sebastian who are separated by a shipwreck.
Worried that Sebastian has drowned, Viola decides her only chance of survival is to disguise herself as a man named Cesario.
Her disguise is successful, but confusion ensues when she discovers that she is in love with her new employer, the Duke of Orsino.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that Countess Olivia, the object of the Duke’s affections, has fallen in love with Cesario. Last night, Dame Janet added: “If some deluded people of mankind want to immerse themselves in a Barbie doll-safe world of pink and sugar, by all means stay there. But they should never choose to study great literature.”
“Heaven!” They may be in danger of broadening their horizons. 』
Succession star Dame Harriet Walter, who played Viola in the 1987 RSC production of the play, said, “It’s disturbing that the emphasis is on the potential upheaval caused by these plays rather than perhaps the exhilaration, the expansion of the mind, and the touching humanity of Shakespeare’s words.”
Frequently referenced in the 1998 Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love, Twelfth Night has always been a hit with children and teens.
Trinity St David, University of Wales did not respond to a request for comment.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12327077/Students-told-walk-upsetting-lectures-Shakespeares-Twelfth-Night-wait-till-hear-Felicity-Kendal-thinks-THAT.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Students say they can get out of ‘upsetting’ lecture on Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’