Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Higley school district official stops Shakespearean play in progress

Higley, Arizona School District director of visual and performing arts Tara Kissane stopped a performance of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)" for 6th to 12th graders in mid-performance because she thought the content was "inappropriate and not a kind of performance that we want them to see."

The performance, by Windwood Theatricals of New York, was attended by students who chose to pay $5 for a voluntary field trip to see it at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts. Kissane interrupted it 40 minutes in, but declined to identify what specifically she found to be "inappropriate." She said that "I thought it was great for college-aged students ... I just thought it was over some of our kids' heads and it wasn't appropriate for our kids. If I'm going to err on the side of anything, I'm erring on the side of caution."

Erring on the side of stupidity, she should have said. So what if it was "over some of our kids' heads"? What about those who were getting something out of it? Why deprive those children on behalf of the lowest common denominator?

6 comments:

Guy "Hollywood" Rittger said...

Well, if the play was "Titus Andronicus" perhaps she objected to the rape, murder, incest, dismemberment, and cannibalism. In other words, all those things that make the play a delight to watch - as good as any contemporary action / revenge movie. The sort of stuff kids today are likely to be watching at home and in the cinema.

Robert said...

As I'm sure you're aware, The Complete Works of William shakespeare (Abridged) is not actually works by Shakespeare. It's a series of short sketches based roughly on the plays. You can read a synopsis here.

Some of my friends did this play in high school, and it is definitely bawdy in places, but nothing high school students wouldn't be able to handle

ej said...

Hamlet, Act III, Scene II
A hall in the castle.
Enter HAMLET and Players
HAMLET Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines...

Unless of course my dear people the word police doth drop the curtain to protect thy innocents from some of the best literature ever written.

CCM said...

My 13-year-old was in the audience. She LOVED the play and was not happy that she didn't get to see the whole thing. The offending words were "damn, bitch, penis" and a couple of others. She said the students were all familiar with the words, except for maybe the six graders, who she thought shouldn't have been there anyway. "Stupid six graders!" ;-)

Anyway, we are smack dab in the middle of Mormon country, so I am not surprised about the outcome.

To the theatre troupe: Where can my daughter see the play? She loved it!

Alexia Vernon said...

Oh, how it pains me to hear educators and administrators confusing protecting young people with denying young people information to make their own decisions about what they like, believe, etc. Any study I've ever read has confirmed that young people are never more likely to engage in a behavior or adopt a thought from encountering it in an educational forum. But rather, through education, a young person gains the intellectual tools necessary to be able to evaluate a message for him/herself rather than relying on piecemeal, biased, or inaccurate arguments and ideas.

If only young people had the choice to cut the adults in their lives off when they stopped being useful, intelligent, articulate, or in line with their values!

Thursday said...

I lost my film version of "The Cmplt wrks f Wllm Shspr (Abgd)".

Your post has made me sad.

Perhaps it was the point where one of the actors has to play a woman (in fact, ALL the women's roles) that the teacher objected to?