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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokesman-Review’s theater critic wrote that a British “sex play” was set to open at Spokane’s Auditorium Theater – and he wasn’t certain that he approved.

“The Blindness of Virtue” was about “the appalling risks which surround an innocent but ignorant girl of the better class, sheltered, protected and screened from the knowledge of the essential matters of life.”

The girl’s ignorance causes her to “tempt a young fellow almost beyond human endurance.” When her father, a vicar, catches the young couple embracing in a bedroom, the young man upbraids the vicar for “having allowed his daughter to remain in total ignorance of her womanhood and its powers.”

The vicar, in turn, reproves his wife for failing “to initiate her young daughter into the mystery of sex.” It ends when the mother undertakes to tell her daughter “the things she should have learned before.” Her innocence, but not her ignorance, remains intact.

The critic said some recent “sex plays” out of New York had included “the most shocking things I ever saw depicted on the acting stage.”

However, he hoped this play would prove to be less shocking, since it had passed the British censors, had been a hit in London for two years, and the British method was generally more “reserved.”

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