A play that simulates a sex act and includes scenes of defecation will be allowed to carry on its six-show run at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.
Spectators who wish to see Hollywood Hen Pit must be at least 18 years old, the festival and the play's producers said Saturday.
The play opened Friday evening with a warning about subject matter, language and nudity. During the play, one of the actors inserts mayonnaise into his rectum and then defecates in front of the audience, said Wendy King, who reviewed the play for the Free Press.
"It is... as degrading the third time as it is the first," King wrote in her review.
Later, King said she understood the show's satire but that the audience should have been warned about the play's graphic material.
"(The festival) knew so little of the content of this show that it failed miserably in its responsibility to warn its patrons of the graphic, violent sexual exhibitionism and language of which the show is comprised," King said by email Saturday.
Ian Mozdzen, who along with Doug Melnyk produces Hollywood Hen Pit, told the Free Press on Saturday he realizes the show isn't for everyone, but defended his right to perform.
"There's some audiences that do want to see what I do, but it's certainly not mainstream or popular, and I don't mind that," he said.
Mozdzen said he won't tone down the show.
"We do what we do in the studio room... It's certainly part of a tradition of body art or transgressive art or provocative art," he said.
Fringe executive producer Chuck McEwen also supported Mozdzen and Melnyk's right to expression, as long as there were no laws broken onstage or anything that put the audience at risk.
"When it comes to the content of a show, one of the principles of fringe festivals across the country is that artists have artistic control to create and present their work onstage," McEwen said in a release Saturday.
"Whether or not a show has artistic merit is left up to the audience, who choose whether or not to attend."
Hollywood Hen Pit is one of 169 plays being presented at the fringe, which kicked off July 17 and winds up Sunday.
Most of its venues are located in the Exchange District, within walking distance of Old Market Square, where free outdoor shows take place.
When does artistic licence cross the line to become lewdness? Join the conversation in the comments below.