Theatre students from Lake Region State College held a reading at the Paul Hoghaug Library on campus to bring attention to Banned Books Week, which highlights well-known works that have been banned in the past.

Theatre students from Lake Region State College held a reading at the Paul Hoghaug Library on campus to bring attention to Banned Books Week, which highlights well-known works that have been banned in the past.

Students performed excerpts from A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, which was controversial after it was first published in 1879 due to its strong female lead. Critics denigrated the work due to its supposed attack on traditional family values.

Also featured was Spring’s Awakening by Frank Wedekind, published in 1906 and banned in Germany before facing censorship worldwide for its controversial subject matter. Wedeking tackled teenage sex, rape, homosexuality, suicide and abortion in the play.

Theatre instructor Casey Paradies, who helped organize the event, says that his students performed well on short notice in their effort to shine a light on works that have been banned over the last century or more.

“I thought they did a nice job,” Paradies said. “Ibsen and Wedekind are not easy authors, they’re not easy plays. We did a brief character analysis and everything (else) we would do in a normal classroom setting.”

Heather Brown and Shaun Anderson took on Nora and Torvald, the featured characters from A Doll’s House, while Skyler Bergstrad and Kaitlyn Halvorson performed a portion of Spring’s Awakening.

Several other works that have been banned at times over the past century are also being highlighted during Banned Books Week, including several classics. To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby, books readers are quite familiar with, have faced controversy for their language and/or themes.

According to the Banned Books Week website (http://www.bannedbooksweek.org), Banned Books Week “was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association.”