Students of North Carolina’s Maiden High School are protesting their principal’s recent decision to cancel their school play due to its “inappropriate” content, an excuse they believe refers to the play’s two gay characters.
WSOC TV reports rehearsals for the John Cariani play “Almost, Maine” had already begun when principal Rob Bliss cancelled all upcoming rehearsals and performances, caving to pressure in the form of alleged complaints from parents and local churches in the community.
The play is a romantic comedy that features multiple loves stories in several unrelated storylines. According to students, complaints about the upcoming production were mostly about a gay couple that appears in one scene.
Though it’s been performed at high schools and colleges around the country for decades, principal Rob Bliss said in a statement to WSOC TV that the play was unsuitable for the community because it contained “sexually explicit overtones and multiple sexual innuendos.”
“As principal of Maiden High School, I have an obligation to ensure that all material, including drama performances is appropriate and educationally sound for students of all ages,” he said.
A disgruntled member of the would-be production took their frustrations to Reddit last night, where they claimed the school’s production budget has been drained as a result of the fiasco, and that the future of the school’s drama program this year is in jeopardy:
The theatre department is protesting the cancelation on several grounds. First of all, they already paid for the scripts and everything and now only have like 2 dollars left in their budget. They use the profits from this play to pay for the next production and now that won’t be able to happen.
Second of all, this is the 21st century, things like this shouldn’t be happening. There are gay people in the theatre department, ones I’m glad to call my friend, and their voices are being suppressed and that is not okay.
At time of press, a student-organized petition to attempt to reverse Principal Bliss’s decision had collected over 200 signatures online.
The scene that includes two gay men can be seen in a 2010 William Woods University performance below: