Editing a Script to Fit an Audience – No

Theatre is an art form, and as such, it is often found by the general public to be controversial. However, if we alter the script to fit an audience, we often find ourselves unknowingly sacrificing the true message of the play, and abandoning the true purposes of theatre.

The trouble isn’t in taking a script and then fitting it to the audience, but rather in finding one that already fits. If it is necessary to make changes in order to keep it unoffensive and acceptable, then we should realize that we have perhaps chosen the wrong script to begin with.

Playwrights do not merely throw things together and hope that their message shines through. They meticulously research and study in order to piece together a story that carries with it a greater meaning. There are few, if any, elements in a play that are not wholly intentional; everything is purposeful and carries with it its own significance within the greater scheme. When we alter the script to fit our own individual concerns, we sacrifice the integrity of the play.

Unfortunately, many people do not realize the incredible care that is taken in writing a play, so it is easy for them to underestimate the damage they may be doing. Playwrights do not include profanity in their work because they feel like it, but rather because to do any less would not accomplish what they intended, and would fail to illustrate the message they are attempting to convey to their audience.

It is easy to miss the significance of the smaller details, particularily for those who come to the theatre merely to be entertained. If your goal is to do just that, then I suggest you find a play that is unoffensive and amusing in it’s entirety. However, if you wish to pass a message on to your audience and expand their knowledge of the world and it’s various people, I then suggest that you find a more challenging script and preserve it’s original message. It may not go off without controversy, but in the end, we will all be better for it.

Some people are incapable of seeing theatre as an art form that is not intended to make you happy. Those who approach theatre with the goal of being amused for an evening may easily find themselves out of their depth. Such is the nature of this craft. What we must realize is that to alter a script is to sacrifice the full effect of it’s meaning, simply so that we may worry less about the backlash of its inherent controversy.