Ian McKellen has criticized the use of trigger warnings in theatre, despite them being used in the West End play he is currently starring in.
The Lord of the Rings actor is currently playing the lead role Frank and Percya two-hander novel about the relationship between two older men who meet while walking their dogs on Hampstead Heath.
The show opened at The Other Palace in London on Tuesday (September 26). You can read The IndependentReview here.
Speaking to Sky News, McKellen, 84, pointed out that there is a list of trigger warnings on the show’s website. These are used to warn viewers about potentially disturbing topics that they may find disturbing.
Frank and Percy is billed as containing strong language, sexual innuendos and discussions of grief and cancer, with the show recommended for ages 14+.
“Outside theaters and in lobbies, including this one, audiences are warned: ‘There is a loud noise and lights flashing at one point,’ ‘There is evidence of smoking,’ ‘There is evidence of sadness,'” McKellen said .
“I find it ridiculous myself, yes, absolutely. I like to be surprised by loud noises and outrageous behavior on stage.”
This isn’t the first time McKellen has spoken out against content warnings Frank and Percy and other works of art.
Speak withThe Evening Standard Earlier this month, McKellen said: “I think, broadly speaking, expression should be free and freely available. And maybe sometimes combine that with a health warning.
“There are warnings now when you go to the theater: there will be cigarette smoke, there will be loud bangs, there will be talk of grief and all sorts of things that you are warned about.”
He continued: “Why can’t you, if someone comes to your university with strong viewpoints that you don’t agree with, why don’t you just say out there that that person is going to talk about those issues?” That’s how it can happen “The audience can form their own opinion.”
There has been much debate over the use of trigger warnings in recent years. This was often associated with universities, where the works of authors such as Jane Austen were accompanied by warnings about potentially triggering material.
In January, the University of Greenwich was accused of “infantilizing” students when it warned students about Austen’s 1817 satire Northanger Abbey contained “gender stereotypes” and “sexism.”