Supporting Audra's joke about being raped on-stage.

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qolbinau
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On ATC there is discussion that Audra's joke was "really not an okay thing to say" and someone even described her to be a "mess".

Hopefully fulfilling a stereotype that BWW posters are younger and more laid back, I'm starting a parallel thread that suggests her joke was not inappropriate but a funny, intelligent (humour is correlated with intelligence) and down-to-earth way to make light of the character she won her 5th Tony Award playing. I don't think Audra deserves to be criticised for the joke.

Thoughts?






"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
Updated On: 6/11/12 at 04:09 AM
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#2
Posted: 6/11/12 at 4:26am
You want our thoughts on your comment? Okay - my thought is that starting a thread of support for a rape joke is a sick, sociopathic act in a society in which far too many women and men are raped each day, leading many to fear for their safety in far too many circumstances and for those who have gone through it to often never fully recover emotionally.

If someone makes a stupid thoughtless reference like Audra did, it is bad enough to display that level of ignorance that adds to the pain of others, especially those who have experienced the violence in the past or know of loved ones who have. But to think about it ahead of time and choose to show support for that is beyond disgusting. You really should be ashamed of yourself and do some volunteer work with survivors in order to develop some empathy in yourself. It would make the world a slightly less pro-violent place. Please get on that right away - there is no time to waste.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#2
Posted: 6/11/12 at 4:39am
Audra's joke was not thoughtless - she made the same joke at the Drama Desk Awards IIRC (I.e. it was pre-planned material that she had already thought of and used previously).

Thank you for your thoughts Supporting Audra's rape joke.. You are clearly passionate about the tragedy of rape, even if I think you are directing that passion towards the wrong people and might be seeing meaning (e.g. 'pro-violence') where there is none.


"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
Updated On: 6/11/12 at 04:39 AM
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#3
Posted: 6/11/12 at 4:55am
Rape jokes are NEVER appropriate, but Audra's comment didn't bother me because I didn't get the impression that she was making light of rape.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#4
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:09am
Supporting Audra's rape joke.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#5
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:28am
qolbinau, not sure why you think people who make light of rape are the wrong people to direct comments towards, but it seems to me that they are exactly the right people. Rapists would be appropriate targets for educational efforts as well, but if they have already raped then it is too late to reach them before they start. Whereas anyone who contributes to a culture of supporting rape jokes (it is right there explicitly stated in your chosen thread title) is contributing to a culture in which it is treated as normal (or even funny) behavior, and that in turn makes it harder for people to get fair jury trials, fair treatment from the justice system or from friends to whom they tell their stories, etc. So people who are not rapists (one presumes) but who don't see how their behavior contributes to the societal problem of rape are perhaps the most productive targets for educational efforts.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#6
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:30am
She made a comment IN CONTEXT with the role for which she just rec'd an award. How is that a big deal? No one can MENTION rape unless they've truly suffered it?
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#7
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:39am
Adam,

I mean, I can't speak on behalf of other people, but for me personally I genuinely don't think rape is normal or funny,* and if a friend ever approached me with a related issue I would treat it very seriously.

* We need to contrast finding rape itself funny or finding a rape-related joke funny. I strongly believe they are not the same thing. I think Audra of all people who has performed her Tony-winning role many times would be the last person to think rape itself was funny.

I hope that you would consider that there are people in this world that may not find Audra's joke offensive, who may even think it was a notable part of her speech, who are not 'sociopaths' or 'pro-violence' in any way.




"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#8
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:41am
No one in this thread so far has spoken out against mentioning rape (not sure why you are 'yelling' the word 'mention', which no one has used as the basis of the discussion here).

In answer to the question "what is the big deal", the big deal is saying that she enjoys being raped by her co-worker every night, which is highly insensitive considering that lots of studies estimate that anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 women are raped in their lifetimes. In an audience of about 2000 people, assuming about half are women, there could easily be over 200 women in that theatre who have been raped, not to mention television viewers, so to imply that it is in any way enjoyable is insensitive. Yes, it is not actually happening in real life, which is why saying that she enjoys working with Philip every night would be a way to recognize her colleague without stirring up pain by making light of something that by definition cannot be enjoyed.

But the response in this thread was to the idea of starting a thread to support a rape joke (again, the intent is spelled out clearly in the title of the thread), and as such, it is entirely premeditated. If Audra actually did plan that joke ahead of time and didn't just make it thoughtlessly due to the pressure of saying something on the spot, that certainly reflects worse on her. But starting a thread to support such a joke intentionally makes the problem worse, and that is what the response was directed towards.

Updated On: 6/11/12 at 05:41 AM
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#9
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:46am
And I don't think she made a 'joke' out it...it was a way to bring her co-stars into her moment. Did anyone take it anymore offensive than the drug taking? Did THAT make light of the unfortunate drug addicts in the world?

It IS what her character endures at each performance.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#10
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:50am
Yes, saying that one enjoys being raped (even jokingly) *is* more offensive than saying one enjoys taking drugs because taking drugs is something that people voluntarily choose to do, at least the first time(s), and often specifically for enjoyment. Being raped is never *by definition* a choice that anyone makes or that can ever be enjoyable (by the very definition of the act).
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#11
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:51am
"No one can MENTION rape unless they've truly suffered it?"

You just said the word, suffer. Rape kills souls. It should never be made light of. It's not about Political Correctness, it's about Human Dignity. Would it have been appropriate if Cynthia Nixon would have said "Gee it sure was swell getting Cancer eight times a week!"? Perhaps Steve Kazee would have loved it, providing he is "younger and more laid back" of course.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#12
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:58am
If we are going to entertain the cancer analogy we'd have to think of a plausible joke that would actually be analogous to Audra's. If Dick Latessa won a Tony award for THE LYONS and in his speech thanked Linda Lavin jokingly for "Watching him die of cancer"* every night, I think it would be fine.

* (I haven't seen the play but I assume this happens)

To take another analogy, if Molly Ranson won an award for her performance in CARRIE and said jokingly "I have enjoyed being abused by Marin Mazzie every night", I would see no problem and laugh at the joke.


"It’s the fractured quality in [Bernadette Peters'] singing voice and line readings that puts across the character as someone for whom resentment is sliding into madness." - NYtimes on Follies (2011).
Updated On: 6/11/12 at 05:58 AM
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#13
Posted: 6/11/12 at 5:59am
And when rape cannot be mentioned, it makess it even more shameful for those that are victims. (and my uppercase letters were for emphasis, not yelling) It happens to her character in each performance, and she was simply making connections.

People make an issue where there isn't one. Interesting that no one criticized her when she made a similar comment at the Drama Desks.

(And I think working with sensitive material in a safe context is EXTREMELY gratifying for actors.)
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#14
Posted: 6/11/12 at 6:37am
dramamama, It has already been pointed out to you once, so i'm not sure if you are doing the straw-man argument technique on purpose, or if you really don't see the difference between *mentioning* something and saying that something that is a criminal and non-consensual act is enjoyable. No one here (again, repeating) has said that it is not okay to mention rape. So both posts where you say there is nothing wrong with mentioning it are both outside of the original scope of discussion, as no one else has said that there is anything wrong with mentioning it.

As previously mentioned, the issue is with saying that one enjoys something that by definition cannot be enjoyed and that in fact traumatizes people who go through it for the rest of their lives. Saying she enjoyed working with Philip every night would be a way to acknowledge her co-worker and their comfortable relationship without adding to the suffering of millions of survivors who were listening to her speech (assuming millions of viewers on television, approximately half women, and approximately 1/4 of those survivors according to the low end of studies).
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#15
Posted: 6/11/12 at 6:37am
I think the people who complain about the joke have SERIOUS issues.

Get over yourself and don't let jokes by people you don't even know get to you so much.

It's clear that Audra does not take rape lightly so what's the problem? Is it a problem when Lea Salonga makes a joke about all the characters she played that die too? Because she thinks death is funny? Jeesh, get over yourself.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#16
Posted: 6/11/12 at 6:52am
Here go the PC police..

1. I would hardly call that a "joke". If you think that was a JOKE, you have your own issues.
2. She was NOT talking about being RAPED. She was remarking about an acting moment in the show, where her character is raped, and that she enjoys working with said actor in the context of listing several costars and how they (as said characters) interact in the show. No more. No less. Since her character is raped, should she say how she loathes working said actor because his character rapes her character? Would THAT be acceptable?

Note to all actors and future winners - you must never speak of enjoying stage time with an actor portraying a character that commits a violent crime against the character you play. Apparently that constitutes a JOKE.

If I HAD to interpret her remark as a joke, I think it should be fairly plainly obvious that she is making comment on how she manages to love sharing the stage with a fellow actor when they depict something horrible.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#17
Posted: 6/11/12 at 6:53am
She wasn't make light of it. She was talking about the ACTING/PERFORMANCE PROCESS of it!

(And yes, people make it sound like she shouldn't even have mentioned it.)

Taking drugs is a choice....drug addiciton is not. Her character is addicted, so the comment is in the same exact situation.

That all being said, no one is saying that rape is funny, just that in the heat of the moment, this is the way she expressed herself and folks are being too sensitive.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#18
Posted: 6/11/12 at 7:09am
Jan Maxwell's fans are being too sensitive.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#19
Posted: 6/11/12 at 7:16am
I generally agree with broadwayguy and drama mama. McDonald did not trivialize rape in any way, shape or form. She said that she loves playing a great and challenging role in which she encounters love, rape and addiction, and in enumerating these three very different experiences paid tribute to her three leading men who, respectively (in their roles - obviously) love her, rape her and get her high. Her comment was an example of edgy wit, not dehumanizing or crude humor. Whether or not it was a "joke" or not is a semantic dispute and beside the point (I personally have no gripe with labeling it a joke, but that doesn't answer the underlying question of whether or not it was objectionable).

That's my opinion. I respect opposing opinions. From exchanging them perhaps I can learn something. Hell, I might even change my mind.

But it's repressive, insulting and not conducive to this kind of exchange to say that anyone who feels the way I do is sick or sociopathic.







Updated On: 6/11/12 at 07:16 AM
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#20
Posted: 6/11/12 at 7:54am
Very well put, Henrik. I couldn't agree more.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#21
Posted: 6/11/12 at 8:33am
I'm trying to understand why people are so confused about the difference between what happens while acting on stage and what happens in real life. Does anyone believe Audra WAS actually raped on stage every night? If so, then use people should be outraged that she is making light of it. But she wasn't referring to rape, she was referring to acting and the relation between two actors who are doing "make believe" -- get it?

Would you be equally offended if someone mentioned in a speech something like -- "being murdered every night on stage by Cheyenne Jackson was a wonderful experience"? Or is that a horrible affront to anyone who has ever been murdered for real?

I realize some people think Legally Blonde should have been banned because it made fun of blonde people. And there are laughs about AIDS in Lips Together Teeth Apart or even The Normal Heart. How horrible to laugh at something as serious as AIDS -- right? Give me a break from this obsession with being overly PC, please.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#22
Posted: 6/11/12 at 9:32am
I thought that Tyler Perry's comment was in poor taste...WAY more that her comment.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#23
Posted: 6/11/12 at 9:39am
I agree with Henrik.

She was thanking her leading men for taking her through the experiences of her character so well, not saying "rape is good" or "drugs are fun."

When people want to find something to bitch about, they will.

I think reactions like this are more an indication of sour grapes because a favorite didn't win. It tends to blur vision and distort what comes after.
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Supporting Audra's rape joke.#24
Posted: 6/11/12 at 9:40am
I'm copying my post from a related thread because I thought I was weighing in on this one when I submitted it.

"There was rape down by the harbor, little Susie caused a stir, claiming that she'd been assaulted, wonder what got into her?" Mack the Knife, Threepenny Opera.

Was Brecht (here Blitzstein's translation) misogynistic? Was he dehumanizing? Should rape have been excluded as a theme in a work as comically revelatory about the cruelty and immorality of modern life as Threepenny Opera?

Was rape an inappropriate subject for vaudeville? For serious, but nonetheless comic, musical theater? Or was Brecht transformatively addressing cruelty and immorality, both in the demimonde and in the greater world which encompasses all of us and rationalizes exploitation and victimization of others?

The same can be said about "Evita" which makes light of the Perons and "The Producers" which makes light of Hitler. Hopefully, no one thinks that fascism, oppression and genocide should be trivialized. Why should rape be singled out for exclusion as an appropriate subject matter for theater which pushes us to examine life and criminality in jarring, challenging but revolutionarilly provocative terms through the exercise of humor? Or do the humanities provide for a variety of mind-expanding and illuminating ways to address serious subject matters, some of which push us to the limits of our expectations of what is acceptable?

Provocative theater which chooses musical comedy as its medium sometimes "make light" of provocative subjects. By doing so it far from trivializes or legitimizes evil. To the contrary, it shakes us to the core by forcing us to take a raw and uncompromising look at our world at its most oppressive.