Royal Danish Theatre denies being afraid of ‘The Satanic Verses’

Fear not a factor in rejecting Salman Rushdie’s book, says director

A dramatised version of Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ has been examined and rejected as a possibility for the schedule of the Royal Danish Theatre.

Playwright Hassan Preisler, who is behind the idea to turn Rushdie’s 1989 novel into a play, said he believes that the national theatre is simply afraid to stage the play.

Morten Kirkskov, a director at the theatre, said that fear had nothing to do with the decision.

“Fear played no role in our decision,” Kirkskov told DR Nyheder. “It never crossed our mind.”

Part of the process
However, the theatre did investigate whether they could obtain the rights for the novel, and Rushdie’s agent seemed open to the idea.

Kirkskov said that enquiring about the rights and then deciding against it was routine practice.

“Checking whether the rights are available, even before you have decided to stage a play, is completely normal,” he said.

Kirkskov said that the theatre decided to reject Rushdie’s book in favour of other novels that were easier to stage.

Still looking
Author and playwright Hassan Preisler is still looking for a Danish theatre that will stage ‘The Satanic Verses’.

‘The Satanic Verses’ was first published in1989. The Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa that condemned Rushdie to death for blasphemy.

READ MORE: Rushdie: Copenhagen was a threat

Rushdie was forced to go into hiding at the time and has lived under constant protection ever since.