What Audiences Should Know
Anatomy of Gray
Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Age Recommendation: 12+
There is very little physical violence, but the plot centers on illness and death. Much of what could be disturbing for young children is due to the setting of rural 1898 Indiana. Characters discuss offstage death and violence (an eye-ball eating cat or June finding her father dead of a heart-attack) in a matter-of-fact kind of way - a way that comes naturally to people for whom injury and death are an everyday part of their lives. There is a violent tornado onstage that causes the doctor’s balloon to crash in the river. June is brought onstage, apparently drowned, but the doctor saves her life. Illness and injuries both on and offstage are described frankly, but are shown theatrically instead of realistically. For example, when the doctor performs surgery with no anesthetic, the audience doesn’t see the surgery directly, but the pain and character’s description of late 19th century surgical procedure may be too graphic for young children. When the town blames the spreading sickness on the doctor, they form a lynch mob – although they end up changing their minds when he saves another life.
References to sex or the human body include: romantic fantasies, frank discussions of an unwanted pregnancy, and characters that struggle with the conflict between 19th century modesty and new medical practices. 15 year-old June talks to the audience frankly about her romantic fantasies about a much older doctor. Rebekah must decide whether or not to keep her baby and she discusses different options with the doctor. The townspeople are shocked that the doctor asks patients to disrobe for examinations. The doctor convinces the preacher to drop his trousers for an exam by dropping his own and using his own body to diagnose the preacher’s kidney stone. There are several discussions of various illnesses using 19th century medical and layman’s terms for different parts of the human body.
There is mild use of obscene or offensive language reflecting language commonly used in the late 19th century - see the list below for details.
H*ll: spoken 3 times
G*d: spoken 21 times
J*sus: spoken 6 times
Sh*t: spoken once
D*mn: spoken 2 times
Drinking, drugs & smoking
The show contains some social drinking. Townspeople drink whiskey onstage at a tavern and later to “calm nerves.” The doctor uses whiskey as a sterilizer and anesthetic (as typical of late 19th century medicine).
Families Can Talk About...
Anatomy of Grey provides a good opportunity to speak with young people about illness and death.