Thursday, November 23, 2006


I quite like the Smoking Ban in public places and venues in Scotland, although I understand why many smokers won’t agree. The atmosphere in pubs and restaurants is much better. However the ban on performers lighting up on stage is crazy, particularly when it infringes on a theatrical work of art.

I can stand on a stage, and give a speech on the benefits of smoking, and that would be OK. But if I was playing a character who smoked, lit up a cigarette, and later in the play, died of cancer, I can be fined. Even herbal substitutes aren’t allowed. What’s the point of this?

Theatre companies are finding ingenious ways round the legislation. The best one was during a performance of Tom Stoppard’s play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Rosencrantz attempts to roll a joint, but is told by Guildenstern that smoking is banned. Rosencrantz's response is to throw down the joint he has just rolled in disgust. He picks up his powder box and delivers the same speech as a cocaine-induced rant.

So a Class-A drug is fine for the stage, better than cannabis or nicotine!

Despite repeated requests from theatre companies to amend the legislation to make smoking on stage legal when it’s important for the performance, the Parliament have refused to budge.



Andy said...

I wish I'd seen that. I bet it was very funny. I recently saw Wendy Cope at the Lancaster Literature Festival and she was quite rightly offended at being described as a 'light' poet - she said just because there is humour does not mean her poems are superficial. They often address serious questions and issues, and similarly the humour in what you describe on stage highlights some seriously screwed thinking.

I'm all in favour of limiting the places people can smoke, for the benefit of all. I'm not in favour of smokers being cast into the cold and demonised. There are greater problems in society currently going unaddressed or inadequately approached.

Poverty kills but we don't see large-font warnings of this fact anywhere. x

CorriganReid said...

I completely agree that the smoking ban in public places has been a good thing. But exceptions should have been made.

And Andy is completely correct - the Scottish Executive seem to think banning smoking is all they have to do to improve Scotland.