My good friend Ian G. sent me this via e-mail. I thought he wouldn't mind me posting his thoughts, as it's worth some discussion...
"From the Times today: The Berlin Opera has cancelled a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" because one scene features a character holding the severed heads of Jesus, Buddha, Poseidon, and -- here's the problem -- the Prophet Muhammad, and the opera's directors would rather not have a performance bombed:
This is a level of potentially blog-worthy scariness that I'd not seen before: a theatre company preemptively pulling work before anyone has a chance to object to it, for fear of violent retribution. Is this paranoia? Cowardice? Good sense? Letting the terrorists win? I haven't sorted that out…
What I am starting to worry about is that cultural institutions globally might reach the same conclusions as the Berlin Opera, and succumb to a kind of preemptive terrorism, silencing themselves out of fear. I may be overreacting, but if we allow our fears of terrorism to dictate what we can do in our work, where does it end? Art that is not free to offend without the artists risking genuine harm seems to me the first step down a path to no art at all. Or am I being unreasonable?"
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.