Who decides what's offensive?
40 MONTHS AGO
Our producer Elise Sterback has been having a fun time in the last couple of weeks getting approval to go public with the poster campaign for our foul-titled little production.
We thought we would share some of that story with you - as we think it's raised some interesting points for discussion about whose role it is to decide what is offensive in our society.
Creating the poster art
We were incredibly lucky to have the super-talented team of designers from Studio Alexander come on board as sponsors for this production. They were particularly excited about creating our posters - and getting to design a concept around such a controversial word.
The initial concept was a brave one - it featured bold white type over some beautiful stylised imagery of our three lead actors. We were ready to hit the streets with it and see what the response was.
Caught in a censorship loop
However we soon found ourselves doing a, not entirely unexpected, censorship dance over the next few weeks. The distributor had a deal with Council that they would abide by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in their placement of posters in public places.
This meant we had to get approval from the ASA before going to print, but ASA was not in a position to give out approval, because this would, as they said, be censoring work in the absence of any complaint being made.
We were caught in a standoff between the ASA and the distributor, which the people we were dealing with in both organisations admitted was bizarre. They said that they personally were not offended by the play's title, understood the concept and admired its design, and supported the artistic production itself. But despite this, were understandably concerned at the risks for their organisation should they permit the campaign to go ahead.
We were eventually able to revise the concept and plead our way into going to print.. but the whole process left us musing on some important questions..
How do we decide what is and isn't offensive, and whose call should it be about where the line is? Why have some words become so taboo in our society? And who are we protecting when we hide them - or, are we just submitting to a conservative few?
The brilliance of Stephen Adly Guirgis' writing is that it challenges us to re-examine these boundaries - and to find art, beauty and deep meaning in the words of some of our most foul-mouthed offenders.
A HUGE thanks to all of you for supporting our Boosted campaign so far! We're now at 23% and climbing, with 11 days to go. Please keep helping us spread the word!
xx The Mofo Team