Today it was reported that a California High School has decided to shut down a student directed production of Jean-Paul Sartre's "No Exit". The students had already performed the show once but the rest of the performances were cancelled just hours before their second show.
According to a petition at change.org it reads,
The reason we were given for the cancellation was something along the lines of there's a lesbian character and some parents may have to explain to their child that some women love other women. That our audience doesn't approve of homosexuality, and we should be playing to our audience.
According to a spokeswoman for the Clovis Unified School District, Kelly Azants, there were confirmed complaints coming from parents.
“Parents had many questions about it, and it’s not what they expected their children to see,” she said. “It should have never gone this far.”
She also admitted that the school failed to catch those mature themes before the play’s debut and that the drama department should have never approved it.
For those who don't know, the play centers on a man and two women, each of whom died with the weight of various sins. They are put in a waiting room and interrogate each other about why they are there, ultimately realizing that this situation will be their hell. The play does contain mature language and themes.
However, what makes the school district's decision a bit hypocritical is the fact that while they have a problem with "No Exit" being performed, it's part of the approved curriculum for their literature class. So they have no problem reading the play in class yet oppose it when its performed. Explain that to me.
Also, I find it horrible that the production was shut down in the middle of its run. Let's be honest, high school plays get maybe three performances at the most and to shut it down after one is simply wrong.
I find it sad that rather than allow this student directed play continue and foster discussion, this school district would rather just silence it and throw it back into the closet. This is exactly the time when cowardly decisions like this, cannot happen.