Today, the theatre arts department will not compete in the district one-act play (OAP) contest because Principal Ken Hughes deemed the content of the play inappropriate after reviewing it on Wednesday.
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” OAP director Scott Shesner said, “I’ve received about 25 phone calls in the last week from a group in town that is upset with the play i selected as the competition play this year.”
The group that contacted Shesner multiple times is one of their competitors for audience for the spring and fall plays. Shesner states that they usually sell out with their performances, while the competition has problems filling half of their auditorium.
“The sad thing is that with Mr. Hughes decision, more than one person is being hurt. All the kids have put forth a tremendous amount of effort for this production,” Shesner said.
The students in the OAP had a bake sale and car wash to make enough money for the costumes because the school district could not afford them. They performed it in front of the parents and none of them had a problem with it. According to parents, they were pleased with the play.
“Yes, there were some complaints, and I decided that this play was not representative of what we should be about. There was excessive physical contact,” Hughes said.
According to Hughes, he was receiving phone calls and a few letters on this issue. The superintendent was stopped by some people in the parking lot who complained. Hughes approved the OAP earlier in the year so he did not attend any of their practices to make sure it was appropriate.
“The judge at the zone meet told us the sexuality on stage was overshadowing the scene. This is not what we wanted,” senior member of the cast Heath Jackson said.
The judge suggested they move the action offstage so it would not distract from the scene. According to Jackson,they moved the gesture between the characters offstage so it is just implied now.
“Mr. Hughes made a big mistake and he should change his decision. No one else on campus wins awards for their work,” Jackson said. “I guess he just wants everyone to be losers so he has to come down on us.”
The football team hasn’t advanced in over 10 years, and the basketball team hasn’t won. According to Jackson, no one has won anything, and they are the group on campus that brings credibility to an organization.
“This type of thing has happened in the past, but it is very unusual for it to happen,” UIL OAP director Luis Muñoz.