The Age Restriction for Broadway's '1984' is so 1984

Apparently, when it comes to the Broadway production of 1984, Big Brother can't take little brother to the show. 

The show, which began previews on May 18th, opens tonight. It stars  Tony Winner Reed Birney, Tony nominee Tom Sturridge, and Olivia Wilde.

As reported by Playbill yesterday, 

Producers for the Broadway production of 1984 have announced an age restriction, which will go into effect beginning with the June 22 opening night performance. Audience members must be age 13 years or older in order to attend the new play at the Hudson Theatre; no one born after 2004 will be admitted.

The restriction follows multiple reports of patrons fainting during the intense staging, which contains graphic elements potentially disturbing to younger audience members.

While I admit that I haven't seen the show yet, I have heard from many that it is indeed, graphic. There are scenes that would be too much for anyone let alone an 11-12-year-old kid. However please know that this age restriction is yet another eye-rolling publicity stunt from the David Merrick-wannabe that is producer, Scott Rudin.

The first part of the ridiculousness of this rule is, how in the world are they going to monitor this when the population they want to bar from the theatre doesn't usually carry identification which lists their ages? So, young looking 14 year-olds that obviously don't have drivers licenses are just as screwed as 12 year-olds. 

The second part is that instituting any sort of rule or regulation on the viewing public and therefore taking the decision making from the hands of the individual, seems to be what the play, 1984, is trying to warn against. 

Is the production of 1984 appropriate for a young child? I'm sure it isn't. However as long as the producers, publicity and front of house teams make the content clear, then it is ultimately up to the parents to decide if their want to bring their children to the show. If parents are willing, then the production is blameless for how a young audience member might react. Buyer beware. 

However to put an all out ban on younger audiences from seeing this show is nothing more than a headline grabbing, buzz-inducing Broadway play from a producer who craves that type of publicity. 

Which is why I'm writing about it, so hats off to you Mr. Rudin, you win again.