Very sad thing happened today. We heard from a teacher who was in the middle of rehearsing my play Power Play. The board for this particular school read the description of the play, not the play – just the description, and cancelled the play.
The line in the description that made them cancel the play was, “A gunshot is heard.”
There’s a fine line when dealing with schools. Some boards are open with what’s performed in schools, more though are quite narrow in terms of language and theme. To that end, we have a balance: we have the plays that can be done by anyone and we have the plays that are more daring. We are certainly aware that the more daring plays will get less productions, but it’s important to have them. There must be that choice. There must be that play that deals with difficult subjects honestly and with raw emotion, because there’s going to be a student who is in that play, or sees that play and connects.
Power Play is one of those plays. It’s about violence. But not just the stereotypical gunshot; the play also explores physical violence, verbal, how students deal with the way they are treated. Violence, all types, is prevalent in high school environments and is an important subject matter.
What is mind boggling is that the teacher asked the board to read the play and the board refused. They didn’t like that there was a gunshot, even though they have no idea how it is used. They didn’t care about the context, or the subject matter, or whether or not the students were connecting to the play. The teacher told us that the students rehearsing the play are devastated.
What makes people think that hiding things from students is helpful?