On Stage: Content Advisories

Part of the mission of the School of Theatre is to provide meaningful cultural and entertainment experiences for the university and the people of East Texas. In doing so with our Mainstage productions, we most frequently turn to widely recognized writers of the past and present, and because they tell the stories of people in conflict—stories that are, in a word, dramatic—their words and works are usually challenging and controversial.

We never seek to offend, but we recognize that people of various sensibilities and sensitivities might choose to avoid some of the language, situations and behaviors that some of these plays use or depict.

For this reason, we offer the following as a source of information, and we resolve here to make a good-faith effort to let patrons, parents and teachers know about the material in our Mainstage productions we believe is most likely to be of concern.

Bloody Bloody Andrew jackson (October 4–8, 2016)

SYNOPSIS: Punk rock musical about the life of seventh President Andrew jackson projecting the 19th century into the present to make it relevant to today’s audience. The play begins on the wild frontier of Tennessee and follows jackson’s life of military campaigns, including his treatment of Native Americans, his marriage to his wife Rachel, and his eight years in the White House.

LANGUAGE: Foul and offensive adult language is used frequently in song and dialogue, including the “f-word” and others. There are also sexual words used and name-calling that is considered offensive.

SMOKING AND DRINKING: There is no smoking. Haze will be used as a lighting effect. There is a scene in a tavern where characters are drinking and a fight breaks out.

DRUGS: None.

NUDITY: None.

SEXUAL content: Sexual activity is depicted between a man and a woman. Two women kiss. Sexual acts are mentioned several times, in both consensual and violent manners.

VIOLENCE: Violence is depicted with guns, knives and fists. Violence towards Native Americans is clearly a theme of the play. Characters are threatened with guns, whipped and cut with knives, and there is a fistfight. Two characters participate in cutting and smear blood on each other. Characters ask in song “Why don’t you just shoot me in the head?” One character is shot in the neck and several are depicted as being shot with a bow and arrow though you never see the arrow.

SUBJECT MATTER: Populism and the culture of politics is a theme of the play. Andrew jackson was as controversial in his time as politics are currently. He left a bloody legacy of genocide of Native Americans. The ideas of rebellion, how we protect and maintain our borders, the privilege of the upper classes, banking being the root of all our problems, the frontier spirit and the importance of charisma in politics are all explored.

AUDIENCE: The play is recommended for older teens and adults.

RATING: BBAJ would be rated R or NC 17.

By the Bog of Cats (November 15–19, 2016)

SYNOPSIS: Hester Swane learns at dawn that she will die before dusk on the very day her former common-law husband and father to her daughter is to marry a younger and wealthier woman. This is the story of that day.

LANGUAGE: There are some mild oaths (“By Christ,” that sort of thing); “bastard” is used literally. No f-words, s-words or c-words.

RELIGION/CULTURE: There is a suggestion that two characters have witch-like powers. The Catholic priest is lovable but senile. The traveler community is consistently referred to by the slur “tinkers.” There is also one phrase that could be interpreted as anti-Semitic.

SMOKING AND DRINKING: Characters consume wine, champagne and whiskey. One character smokes cigars (not actually tobacco).

NUDITY AND SEXUAL content: There is no nudity. Sex, including between a 26-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy, is discussed but not enacted. The closest thing to on-stage sexuality is a chaste kiss between newlyweds.

VIOLENCE: There are several moments of violence in the play, including against a child. A knife murder happens onstage, and suicide appears imminent. There is also an only partially veiled threat of rape.

RATING: If it were a movie, By the Bog of Cats would be rated PG-13.

Intimate Apparel (February 28–March 4, 2017)

SYNOPSIS: Travel back to the ragtime era to meet Esther, a master seamstress with a spinster’s life but a poet’s tireless soul. Trapped between high society and its sordid shadow world, her heart is constrained by race, religion and class. Throughout her story's suspenseful turns, her resilience reflects America's enduring hopefulness.

LANGUAGE: Swear words are used, including the s-word, d-word and gd-word.

RELIGION: The show features a character who is an Orthodox Jew and who is heavily involved within the culture and traditions therein. Several of the characters talk about God, and one goes into detail about his or her relationship (or lack thereof).

SMOKING AND DRINKING: Characters consume brandy, wine, beer, etc.

NUDITY AND SEXUAL content: There is no nudity, but actors are seen in undergarments while changing clothes. Sex is insinuated on stage. There is a kiss between two women and a chaste kisses between a man and a woman.

SUBJECT MATTER: There is conversation about the women’s suffrage movement throughout the show. 1905 is a unique point within our country; women and people of color had limited rights. Given that this show deals heavily with black women, there are some references about both race and gender and how they affect people.

AUDIENCE: Intimate Apparel is recommended for young teens and adults.

RATING: Intimate Apparel would be rated PG-13.

The Skin of Our Teeth (April 25–April 29, 2017)

SYNOPSIS: The play is the story of the Antrobus family narrowly escaping one disaster after another, from ancient times to the present.

LANGUAGE: There is no offensive language in the play.

RELIGION: Because the play is a retelling of the story of Adam and Eve, there are some references to the Bible.

SMOKING AND DRINKING: A few characters drink alcohol (not real) during a scene in Atlantic City. Some of these characters appear drunk. One character smokes a pipe (not actually tobacco). The use of non-toxic dry ice for smoke appears in the scene after the war.

NUDITY AND SEXUAL content: There is no nudity. Two people appear in bathing suits from the 1940s period. There is one kiss between a couple. There’s flirtation between couples in Atlantic City. The maid in the play is the mistress of the lead male character.

VIOLENCE: There are several moments of violence in the play, including a fight between a father and son and a slap between a man and a woman. Three guns appear onstage, but the guns are not fired and are not real.

RATING: If it were a movie,THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH would be rated PG-13. There is nothing offensive in the play, but the subject matter would probably not appeal to anyone who is under 13.

Accredited by NAST: National Association of Schools of Theatre