By: Alex Spindler~Staff Writer~
Amidst the Russian controversy concerning President Vladimir Putin’s treatment of homosexuality on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, Putin’s authority has even stretched into the realm of theater.
Putin recently placed a ban on any theatrical or musical performance that contains homosexual elements or characters.
Though these statements may not come as a shock to those immune to Putin’s barrage of discriminatory regulations, they have incited their own brand of controversy.
Now, he warns spectators to avoid any type of possible “homosexual” display that may take away from the values set forth by the Russian state.
According to NBC News, Putin was reported saying, “Any attempt by homosexuals to flaunt their bodies in a way that is distracting, provocative or arousing will be frowned upon.”
Recording artist and Grammy winner Elton John (an openly-gay man) spoke out in outrage to the president’s threats on homosexual censorship.
The composer of financially and critically-successful musicals “The Lion King,” “Aida” and “Billy Eliot” believes that themes of homosexual liberation and acceptance are integral elements of many theatrical productions.
For John, without the efforts of artists of all sexual orientations, the modern notion of the theater would be lost and many productions would lose their attraction.
Nevertheless, many Russian theaters followed suit and are preparedto close their doors (out of political fear).
Thanks to John’s fiery testimony and the statements’ attachment to the upcoming Olympic Games, the theatrical censorship has reached all across the globe.
The Broadway community in New York especially voiced their opinions on the matter by creating satirical accounts to condemn Putin’s actions.
Theater analysts and active theater-goers agree this ban on homosexual portrayals and material may have a more difficult time having lasting effects than was expected.
Moscow in particular possesses a rich theater district almost equal to that on London’s West End and on Broadway; closing these productions would leave a major mark on the nation’s economy.
Finance aside, homosexual themes and elements are becoming more relevant and widely-discussed for both plays and musicals.
Still, many wonder whether or not this LGBTQ scare simply falls in line with the other “gay bans” imposed by Putin in preparation for the Olympics.
Unfortunately for the theater lovers of Russia, this ban falls in at the wrong place and the wrong time for any future development