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To be ‘PC’ or not to be. That is the Question.

November 4, 2011

Those who saw Bruce Jay Friedman’s plays when they were first performed, may have squirmed in their seats at some of the blatant language he used. Decades later, readers of Bruce’s upcoming book, 3.1 Plays, may have similar reactions. Or will they? Here, Bruce puts his plays into today’s context.

LLB: Being set in the 1960’s and 70’s, your plays deal specifically with issues of race, sex, and relationships. What changes have you seen in these areas? What can theatre audiences today take away from your work?

Bruce: It was a different world then. I was half my age when I wrote the plays. In terms of race, blacks, as one example, have made great progress–we have a black president and could conceivably have a second one. But there is much more to be done. Women too have moved forward is many areas–the workplace, the professions, over-all confidence. Much further to go. I believe men and women react differently to one another. See shows like Mad Men, the way it was in my era, and compare it to today. There are, and, for all I know, pockets of bigotry that remain, and, who knows, maybe always will. I would hope that audiences would look at my plays in terms of the culture in the Sixties, Seventies, and hopefully, enjoy them, much the way most readers, I would hope, enjoy Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Harold is a product of his culture, in Scuba Duba, as is God, in Steambath, even though He created it.

LLB: Do you think that today there is more of an emphasis placed on being ‘PC’ (politically correct)? How do you think this affects the way people respond to some of the language in your plays?

Bruce: Some writers, not just playwrights, are “careful” with their books and plays, to too great an extent in some cases. Though you can write with sensitivity, no one wants to see or read a “Pamphlet,'” written by a “careful” writer. Ugh.

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