The Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, MA has rated their upcoming production of Doug Wright's Quills NC-17.
Quills opens Aug. 8 at the Unicorn Theatre, which is part of the festival's education and training program for theatre artists, and runs through Aug. 29.
Richard Corley returns to the Unicorn Theatre to direct for the third time.
Earlier this summer, North Carolina's Flat Rock Playhouse instituted a ratings system similar to that of the Motion Pictures Association of America (G, PG, etc.) but quickly discontinued it when the Playhouse learned that doing so for theatrical productions is a copyright infringement. The Berkshire Festival, which has not sought permission from the MPAA to use the rating, has rated this production because, "We don't want anyone coming under false pretenses and being upset," a festival spokesperson told Playbill On-Line. Using the rating "is quicker for the mass public. We don't want people to be offended."
Quills follows the last days of the life of the Marquis de Sade and is written in the Grand Guignol style of 1890's French theatre. The play is set in 1807 at the Clarenton Asylum where Napoleon has imprisoned the Marquis. A press releases said "Quills includes graphic violence, nudity, dark comedy and depiction or discussion of almost every imaginable sexual practice known to man." Science, religion, morality, freedom and art are also hotly debated. In the cast are Jeremy Davidson as the Marquis, Lawrence Bayles as the corrupt and despicable Doctor Royer-Collard and Jonathan Uffelman as the optimistic and sympathetic Abbe de Coulmier. Also in the cast are Jolyn Unruh, Julia Dion and Matthew Miller.
It's now common for Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres to post signs when a show has gunshots, smoking onstage and strobe lights, while season brochures will occasionally caution subscribers that a show has nudity or particularly strong profanity. Still, an official rating system is a rarity in theatre circles.
For tickets or more information call (413) 298-5576.
--By Laura MacDonald