In Shakespeare for Snowflakes: On Slapstick and Sympathy (Zero Books, 2020), Ian Burrows examines the fraught meeting place of slapstick and tragedy, asking us under what literary and performative conditions we extend and withhold sympathy. Using source material as diverse as YouTube comments and the plays of Sarah Kane and William Shakespeare, Burrows forces us to confront the limits of our own empathy. This book also provides a useful entry point into the question of trigger warnings in academic lectures: after a trigger warning on one of Burrows’ lectures came to the attention of the British press, Burrows found himself the center of a controversy over the use of content warnings on material related to sexual assault. Burrows makes the case that such warnings are not an impediment to learning, and in fact may allow some students to more fruitfully engage with this topic.
Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is AndyJBoyd.com, and he can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.