Samuel Butcher and Holly Frost’s production of Quills comes at an interesting moment here in Orlando. L’affaire Chick-fil-A has disrupted pretty much everyone’s Facebook feed, and few of us haven’t been shocked by the side taken by at least one friend or family member, whether you identify with the chicken-greased family-values crowd or the finally-had-enough boycotters. On the Kickstarter page that funded the production, Frost and Butcher asked supporters to help bring Quills “to the Shadow of a Mouse to Orlando, the city famous for Disney World and Universal, where facades matter more than facts.” The play, based on the life of the Marquis de Sade, was written as a direct response to the culture wars of the 1990s, when the National Endowment for the Arts revoked funding to four artists because of the “offensive” content of their work. This meditation on the boundary between art and obscenity – and whether there is or should be one – will be staged at the Woodshed (thewoodshedorlando.com), a private BDSM club usually devoted to workshops on rope bondage, “violet wands” and safe words. As the play’s producers put it, they’re presenting “a play that challenges audiences to think deeply by placing them in an environment alien to their own”; their choice of venue is merely a continuation of that challenge. – Jessica Bryce Young
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