Looking at the Ethics and Impact on the Audience

Date: October 10th 2018

Learning Outcomes: LO7 – Recognise and consider the ethical implications of choices and actions.


As we pass the halfway point and begin the last forty days of the production process, I feel it is important to reflect upon some of the difficulties we have faced. Specifically, I would like to discuss the responsibility we have as interpreters of Peter Shaffer’s text to accurately represent it – understanding that the audience may be affected by our performance, in terms of their views of the events and people involved.

What struck me initially when I read the text, was the fascinating detail with which Shaffer describes both parties, the Incas and Spaniards. To me, this reflects an extreme dedication to the accurate portrayal of events, which I find to be quite admirable considering that as an author, his main objective may be to entertain, rather than educate. Though none of this is certain, I am simply inferring and reflecting upon my thoughts of Shaffer’s work. Nevertheless, I believe this suggests the small ethical imperfections within the piece are more a result of Shaffer being a product of the socially acceptable schools of thought of his time, rather than intentional disregard or carelessness of moral concerns.

An example of these ethical imperfections would be the use of the term “Indians”, rather than Incas, to refer to the Peruvian settlers. With an executive decision made by our director, which the cast agreed with, the notion to change “Indians” to Incas was put into action. Again, understanding that with the socio-political scene of the 1960’s that there would have been no, or very minimal, objections to Shaffer using the term “Indians”, meaning there is no reason to blame him for this discrepancy. This example showcases quite well the considerations a cast must make in relation to coinciding their interpretation of the text with an appropriate staging, whilst always considering how it may affect their audience. Interestingly enough, our case does not heavily differ from Shaffer’s when you consider that our decision was also the result of a commitment to uphold the politically correct standards of the society.

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