Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Final frontier

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It definitely wasn't in good taste, but was it art, and does it even matter?

A Winnipeg Fringe Festival show, Hollywood Hen Pit, caused a ruckus with some patrons because of its reliance on defecation and (simulated) oral sex to make a point, although exactly what point isn't clear. As shock art, it certainly worked, far exceeding art shows that featured dead rabbits hanging from a tree and a woman wearing a dress made of rotten meat.

In the case of the fringe play, the mistake was not to warn audiences that it was disgusting, pointless (except in the minds of the artists), humourless and obscene. If after such a warning, people still wanted to pay for the experience, well, whatever turns you on.

It may not have been high art, but this is theatre "on the fringe," where risk-takers are encouraged, even if they frequently take audiences where they have never gone before.

But after Hollywood Hen Pit, is there anywhere else to go?

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 23, 2013 A8

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