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High school cancelled play over lesbian character, say students

Joseph McCormick January 24, 2017

Students at a high school in California have said they had a run of a play they had directed cancelled because one of the characters is gay.

A petition has been started by students at Buchanan High School in Clovis, California, after a production of ‘No Exit’ by Jean-Paul Satre was called off my school administrators.

Directed by student Jared Serpa, the play features a lesbian character Ines.

The petition states that the Clovis Unified School District cancelled the production after its first performance.

It reads: “Our production of No Exit, a play written by Jean-Paul Sarte, was unfortunately shut down a few hours before our second performance. This show is read at our school in senior literature, and yet is somehow unfit for the stage despite us modifying it to make it more appropriate.

“After months of hard work, long nights, early mornings, spending breaks, and weekends on this show. 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.

“I’m deeply disappointed in our community. One I once thought was accepting and kind. I’m afraid I was wrong. Please allow the show to go on, and help us put censorship of homosexual themes and the double standard towards the lgbtq+ community in Clovis Unified School District to an end.”

Serpa released a video expressing his disappointment in the fact that the production was cut short.

He says the reason the students were given for the cancellation was down to “audience complaint”, and that administrators told Serpa that parents might find it difficult to explain to their kids why a woman would be kissing another woman.

Watch Serpa’s video below:

The director also shared on his Twitter page, blanked out text conversations with other students expressing disbelief that the show had been cancelled.

The school district responded and said that mature themes were to blame for the cancellation, not homosexuality.

Kelly Avants, the chief communications director at the District told the Fresno Bee: “Being a K-12 institution, the expectation of our drama programs is that every production they do is to be age-appropriate content,” she told the Fresno Bee.

“We have done multiple other shows at the high school level that includes lesbian, gay or questioning characters. We would never think that that was reason to cancel a play, and certainly not after the play’s already going.”

More: high school, jean-paul sartre, students, stunents, US

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