Playwriting

Word Fear

Photo by dryhead

I had a very interesting conversation with a teacher last week. She was familiar with Theatrefolk plays and had recently put up Pressure. She had wanted to do Anonymous but it was ‘rejected’ by her administration. You see, she had to vet every play before moving forward with rehearsals. I’m sure many of you must follow the same procedure at your schools.

The teacher was able to put on Pressure without issue. This is a play, you may have already guessed, about the pressures that teens face. Some of these pressures certainly aren’t PC, or ‘clean’ as some like their material to be. In Pressure we have:

  • underaged drinking
  • it is inferred that a character was forced into sexual activity.
  • it is inferred that a character succumbs to the pressures she’s dealing with and kills herself.

These are indeed tough situations, frankly, as they should be. They are heavyweights which some of the characters deal with and some don’t.

So, the admin did not see issue with Pressure. Here’s why they vetoed Anonymous:

  • the word “God” is used.
  • the word “gay” is used.
  • the word “sex-ed” is used.

Words. If this teacher wanted to do this play, those words would have to be removed. Thankfully, this teacher refused and did something else. But what a fascinating comparison, huh? Words vs actions. Wouldn’t you assume it would be Pressure that would be nixed? Are the three words above THAT damaging to the teen psyche? What would happen if they heard those words? What is so wrong with using those words? Why do they cause fear? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t understand why or how the removal of words and the removal of topics prepares teenagers for the world at large.

What words have been vetoed at your school?

About the author

Lindsay Price