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Penis: Tough to swallow
By Derek Rhodenizer
A production entitled
The Puppetry of the Penis, which recently finished its run at London's Grand Theatre, has led some citizens to urge censorship and funding cuts at the Grand.
The show, rated for adults only, features two men who claim to use the lost Australian art of "genital origami" to shape forms ranging from the Eiffel Tower to a hamburger using their genitals.
"It's not moral," said Dwight Lorondeau, one of the 30 people to sign the petition against the Grand Theatre, explaining his tax dollars should not be spent on anything so disgusting as what he deemed to be a pornographic display.
"We hereby request that all future funding for the Grand Theatre from the City of London cease immediately," read the given petition. The petition expressed concern for the "disgusting pornographic nature of this kind of theatre."
The petitioners presented their agenda to London City Council on Jun. 10, said Susan Eagle, city councillor for ward 7 and chair of the Community and Protective Services Committee.
"We filed their concern but decided not to take any action," explained Eagle, adding the council's decision was unanimous. "People are free to express their opinion," she said.
According to Deb Harvey, the general manager of the Grand Theatre, London community members concerned with the show's content seemed to be in the minority.
The Puppetry of the Penis rented a space in the Grand with the theatre's administration expecting a low turn out, Harvey explained.
"The result was ironic and unexpected," Harvey said. The show ran for nine days in London, selling out faster than any other city in the world, she said, adding they sold-out almost every show, a total of 8,000 tickets, which included a sold-out matinee on Mother's Day.
"It's good to see a sense of ownership of the Grand Theatre in the community, but we do not believe in censorship at the Grand," Harvey said, noting the Grand's policy states that if a show does not promote violence, or perpetuate hate then it will be allowed on the stage.
The Puppetry of the Penis did not break any of those policies, she explained.
"This is not a sexual show and was considered a spoof," Harvey said. The show originated in Australia, from a different culture with a different view of the human body, she added.
"The people protesting the show have not seen the show and assume it is sexual. However, upon asking people that saw the show they would all tell you it was very funny and not sexual at all," Harvey said.
"The turnout was about 90 per cent female, but several males also came and enjoyed a good laugh," Harvey said.