US: High school play about Iraq war cancelled
10 April 2007
A high school play about the Iraq war, “Voices in Conflict,” was abruptly cancelled by the school administration in Wilton, Connecticut last month when a student whose brother was serving in Iraq circulated drafts of the play to parents and others in the community in order to get it shut down.
After having supported the project of the advanced drama class for almost two months, the school’s principal, Timothy Canty, deemed the play “unbalanced” and potentially inflammatory for its presentation of the war in Iraq through the voices of US soldiers, as well as Iraqi youth who have experienced the war firsthand.
Wilton High drama teacher Bonnie Dickinson, who developed the play with the group of 15 students, described the objective of the play in an interview with the New York Times, saying it was meant to show “people close to the same age as the students who were experiencing very different things in their daily lives and to stand in the shoes of those people and then present them by speaking their words exactly in front of an audience.”
The play was compiled of direct quotes from the books In Conflict: Iraq War Veterans Speak Out on Duty, Loss and the Fight to Stay Alive and Baghdad Burning; a documentary film, The Ground Truth; plus various web logs and other sources.
However, to bring the Iraq war home with such vividness was not acceptable to some in the politically conservative Wilton community.
In his press release supporting the decision of Principal Canty, Wilton Superintendent of Schools Gary Richards objected, “Book, film and web site sources are cut and pasted together in a way that does not give them attribution or cite the viewpoint of the authors.
Students directly act soldiers’ parts rather than read the sources, an approach that sensationalizes the material.”
By such standards, all dramatic theater would prove unacceptable.
Vietnam and Iraq wars: here.