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In 2005, we (at Philomath High School) experienced censorship against Neil Simon's play, RUMORS. I directed this play in 1994 at Corvallis High School without any problems. Notably, it is one of the most popular plays frequently produced in our high schools. A few weeks before we were to open complaints were raised about the language (inappropriate) and then a few weeks later complaints were raised about cutting the language (copyright laws). Oddly enough, no-one thought to check with the theatre to see what we were doing about the language -if anything-and most people didn't even know what "language" anyone was referring to (because many people had not taken the time to even read the play). Quite a bit of "drama" surged through the community, school, and editorial section of the newspaper; our play was shut down mid-performances. There were so many ironies that I could point out (then and now), so many times the kids "got it" and the adults didn't, so many adults with personal egoic agendas, so many choices made on partial or faulty information, an almost humorous failure to check accusations against facts, astoundingly angry people putting in their two-cents without information or education on the issue or in the discipline, bizarre hypocrisy, unfounded fear, and well, to quote the master "Much Ado About Nothing." In hindsight it is ludicrous and at the time it was disgusting, actually, especially considering the fact that we neither broke copyright law, nor offended the audience with language, and had no student or community member say, watch, or hear anything he/she did not want to, was not informed of, or was not "allowed" to by their parents, religion, etc. I remember thinking at the time that it would be nice if the students could actually be talked to, rather than "about" and if they were (like the man who called in regarding the "test")....what would or could happen?
posted 4 years, 2 months ago
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