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The continued popularity of Neil Simon's Rumors as a high school play, especially in areas known to be dominated by the kind of thinking expressed by the La Grande objectors, is very curious, and appears that it can only be explained by the widespread [mis]understanding that Hazelwood censorship powers outweigh the author's right to choose whether to submit his (or her) work to those powers.
The author's stated intent is that the script be performed as he wrote it, with every one of the dozen or so F-words, which he calculatedly puts in the mouths of some at times not very nice people, being clearly heard by the audience -- how is it possible to perform this play in a way that satisfies that intent of the author, while still accommodating the sensitivities of community members with "standards" as "high" as those of the objectors in La Grande? Not by cutting or changing text -- maybe "obscuring" it, so that the text is performed, but not heard by the audience? This is perhaps a "bending" rather than a breaking of the copyright law, but which looks to me like a clear violation of what the Berne Convention calls the author's "moral rights" (which have not been adopted into US copyright, but which were so important to citizens and governments of other countries that France banned the TV showing of Turner colorized classic black and movies in response to the objections of their directors: Turner may have purchased the right to so adapt the films along with all other rights from the studios that previously owned the copyrights, but it was found that the adaptations violated the moral rights of the auteurs of the films, the directors, making the adaptations legal under US copyright law, but illegal under French copyright law.)
It seems to me that if authors are worthy of enough respect that you want to produce one of their plays, they are also worthy of enough respect to not change their plays in ways that they find objectionable -- which is why I can think that the LHS Picasso, which was edited, I assume, in ways that were both supported by Mr. Martin and also, in the professional judgment of Mr. Cahill students and his principal, adequate to adapt the play to the needs of Mr. Cahill's students and the intended audience, should have gone forward at the school, while also thinking that the Philomath Rumors should never have gotten as far as it did.
posted 4 years, 2 months ago
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