Salt Lake Speaks

The Challenge of Satire on Stage

December 7, 2017

Politics are not new to the world of theatre. Playwrights have been needling and instigating controversial discussion for centuries. One of the first anti-war comedies was written in 411 B.C. Aristophanes’s Lysistrata, which centers around a female-led-sex-strike, was actually banned in the United States in 1873 as obscene. And the clash between theater and the powers that be has continued ever since. So it’s no surprise a recent production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. New York’s Public Theatre‘s assassinated resembled President Donald Trump and lost the support of major sponsors, including Delta Airlines.

Salt Lake Acting Company annually produces Saturday’s Voyeur—a cabaret show poking fun at local and national politics, as well as the so-called “dominant” Mormon culture. What is the art’s responsibility to launch controversial discussions? Where do you draw the line between satire and bullying?

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