'Quills' focuses attention on censorship

LONG BEACH - "Quills," named one of "12 OC plays to watch in 2012" by OC Weekly, will be presented by the California Repertory Company at Cal State Long Beach starting Feb. 17.Set during the final year of the infamous Marquis' incarceration in the insane asylum Cherenton, "Quills" explores the lengths some will go to silence an inciting voice. The production is presented in partnership with the B-Word Project, a CSULB campus-wide initiative examining what it means to be "banned, blacklisted and boycotted." Playwright Doug Wright was admittedly responding to a growing climate of censorship within the arts when he was moved to write the play in the early 1990s. The play takes liberties with the historical details, imagining the increasing vulgarity of the Marquis' expressive techniques and the escalating grotesqueness of his persecution. Director Larissa Kokernot sees a subtler kind of censorship currently occurring in the arts, rather than the more public oppression that Wright was responding to. "Right now what is more disturbing to me is the idea of internal censorship, as opposed to how it was in the 90s when there were all these congressional meetings and it was all about shutting things down," she said. "For me the larger question has to do with what the Abbe de Coulmier is struggling with, an unawareness of the way you are censoring yourself. When it's out there politically and there is somebody who is working to censor, you can rise up and combat and make people see. But how do you see the ways that we're silently censoring ourselves?" "Quills" plays Feb. 17 through March 10 onboard the Queen Mary. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for students, military and seniors (55 and older). Parking is $8. For tickets and information call (562) 985-5526 or go to calrep.org.

********** Published: February 16, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 44