Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?

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Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?#1
Posted: 10/9/08 at 9:34am
Does anybody have a major problem with the excessive usage of cursing on stage? For some shows it doesn't bother me, while other shows go over board and it serves as a distraction. Given the appearance of two David Mamet plays on Broadway this season this is an issue worth reexamining.
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It depends on the show and the context for me. If it's obviously just sort of thrown in for the heck of it (as I really felt was the case in November), then I get very tired of it. But in a lot of cases it really is integral to what's happening on stage at that moment (as I felt it was in Fifty Words). I see it as a case by case basis.
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Mamet writes the way people talk. I know plenty who curse like that.
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Frankly, my dear, I don't give a hoot.
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I speak fluent French if you know what I mean, so it doesn't offend me.

I loved NOVEMBER and felt it appropriate and funny. If it fits the character, the scene and the tone of the play, great.

Nothing like a good ad lib when something goes wrong, a cell phone goes off, ect ect ect either re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?

What I don't like is the f word used in a mean way...

"TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD"- LES MISERABLES--- "THERE'S A SPECIAL KIND OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS SHOW PEOPLE... WE'RE BORN EVERY NIGHT AT HALF HOUR CALL!"--- CURTAINS
Updated On: 10/9/08 at 09:44 AM
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I didn't really like it in Jersey Boys, sure it was funny at points but it go too much.
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I haven't seen Jersey Boys, but I would expect there would be a bit or a lot of cursing.
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If cursing is excessive, then yes, of course it's unnecessary. Isn't that kind of tied into the definition of "excessive"?
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"I didn't really like it in Jersey Boys, sure it was funny at points but it go too much."

Have you ever BEEN to North Jersey on a Saturday night? If anything, the language was underutilized.
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I thought the cursing in [title of show] was excessive.
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re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?#10
Posted: 10/9/08 at 12:08pm
We are all grown-ups, and the theater states if the show has strong language. It shouldn't come as a shock, and really, it IS how many people talk.
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re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?#11
Posted: 10/9/08 at 12:09pm
My only problem is when cursing doesn't serve the plot or the characters; it's just thrown in for "shock value." There are authentic examples where characters would speak with that language, and in those cases I find it not only necessary but vital to the integrity of the production. In my Dramatic History class last year, some of the students wrote off "Angels in America" immediately due to the language used by Roy Cohn in the first few pages of the play. I (along with my teacher and a few of the other non-Christian fundamentalist students) argued that in that instance the profanity was absolutely necessary as a reflection of the character. There is no way that Roy Cohn would watch his mouth; it goes against every bit of characterization that Tony Kushner was trying to establish.

The joys of attending a private Christian college in the middle of the Midwest. Quite frankly, I'm shocked that we were allowed to read "Angels in America" in the first place. Just goes to show how much my teacher rocks.
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re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?#12
Posted: 10/9/08 at 12:12pm
"Nothing like a good ad lib when something goes wrong, a cell phone goes off, ect ect ect either"

ect ect ect? I haven't heard that curse. re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?
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re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?#13
Posted: 10/9/08 at 12:45pm
If you're not mature enough or too sensitive to endure it, stay home. Everything is not for everyone.
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re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?#14
Posted: 10/9/08 at 12:53pm
I'm not even sure if cursing has much shock value anymore either. Many of the words are in the media every day - tv, film, books, etc. Unless they live under a rock I don't know too many people who are truly shocked or angry when a "bad word" shows up in a show or anything else. Unless it's completely inappropriate, like a children's show, I'm not really sure many people really care.
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re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?#15
Posted: 10/9/08 at 12:56pm
Saw Billy Elliot last night and without a doubt - the excessive cursing I did find distracting. I am not a prude and use my fair share of it. I can understand that the intention was to inject a sense of the vocabulary of the people but after a while...I not only got the point but started to dwell on "Oh they said another curse word." That is when it becomes too much.
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re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?#16
Posted: 10/9/08 at 12:59pm
DAMN!!! When did theater audiences get so F***ing "blue nose"
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re: Is excessive cursing necessary on stage?#17
Posted: 10/9/08 at 12:59pm
They're just words, and they are necessary only if they contribute to the play, like any other words.
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It depends what the show is. For something like 'Black Watch' - which has the BEST swearing since 'The Thick of It' - it would be pretty disconcerting if they *didn't* swear every other word, soldiers and Scots not being renowned for their refined vocabularies.

Personally, when I'm with my amigos, I tend to swear a LOT. I don't swear at all around my family, but my friends and I can appreciate a nicely-turned bit of obscenity, so are more than happy to throw it out all the time. If you wrote a play about us, there'd be something VERY wrong with you generally, and even more wrong if you decided to cut all the swearing out of our dialogue.

Ultimately, I'm with Lizzie. If it's "excessive", then it's unnecessary. If it's necessary, then it can't possibly be considered excessive.
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Yes, it is.
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You know something, the play is the play.

That's like asking the curator of the Metropolitan, "Don't you think we have 1 too many nudes?"

How many "bad" words is too many? And what makes them so bad anyway?

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The Pillowman.

That is the only show I can think of where it has been excessive enough to distract me.
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And see, I don't remember the cursing at all...
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I seem to remember act 2 of Cloud 9 having some pretty racy language. One character dropped the f-bomb about a dozen times in a short monologue.

But as my grandma said, the ten commandments doesn't prohibit cussing, so let 'em rip!
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