When the Royal Shakespeare Company opens its production of Shakespearean classic As You Like It (which is right up there in popularity with Cymbeline) in New York this week, there is going to be one part missing: the skinning of a rabbit on stage. Why? Because New Yorkers are a bunch of wimps.
This production, which is one of five Shakespearean plays in repertory at the Lincoln Center Festival this summer, ran in London for more than two years and each night three dead rabbits were brought out on stage, one of which was skinned and thrown into a stew pot, according to the plot of the play. When New Yorkers found out about this visceral device, they rallied on Facebook and drafted online petitions to tell the RSC to knock it off. Ridiculous. The scene has now been cut out of the play. The same people upset about the bunnies will probably now be crying about censorship.
The purpose of the production was meant to show a realistic look of rustic life which, naturally, would include killing, skinning, and eating of woodland creatures. But now, everyone who shops at Citarella and doesn't like to think about how their organic chicken got to the store in the first place rallied against a pretty bunny rabbit being skinned on stage. The RSC said it was going to use animals raised as food for snakes and other meat-eating animals in the production—not people's pets or anything. So these rabbits were already dead, and the people protesting didn't save one living thing. But the next thing you know, Ophelia won't be able to drown herself because she's sending the wrong message to teenage girls.