Inappropriate language of show for HS school

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January 3, 2010
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How do you handle the problem of inappropriate language that is found in many top-notch shows with your school districts? Have you ever had complaints from staff or parents? If so, how did you deal with those complaints?
6 answers

January 12, 2010
Agreed. I also feel that for High Schools there is more than enough "classic" material that the edgier contemporary material is not needed to have a great variety in performances.

January 12, 2010
Agreed, too. As a mother of a performing high schooler, the goal should be growth in their performace skills...not practice in bad language with good diction. There is more than enough inappropriate language in the HS hallways, it's not needed on stage. When my daughter performs, I want to be able to bring her siblings to see her and bad language should not have to cross their ears. That has happened to us recently and I must say I was very disappointed, especially when everything else was great!

January 12, 2010
Hi everyone. My name is Michael and I am an MTI representative. The best thing to do if any language or content questions arise on a show you may be considering is to talk to your rep at MTI. Any changes to a show must be approved in writing, so if you have a concern, send them to your representative via email. We will then look into the matter, often checking with the authors of our shows themselves to find the right solution for you and your organization. Most language issues can be resolved by simply omitting the word(s), but it is best to get approval right from the source!

January 8, 2010
For a High School play, innapropriate language seems unecessary. If it is crucial to the play itself, then keep it unless replacements or modifications to lines are able to be made, but I believe the words should be used sparingly as so not to lose many audience members. Sometimes parents and their younger children will avoid or make a complaint if they hear cuss words in their entertainment.

January 4, 2010
I have heard of school districts closing down productions due to such sensitive matter. I like to run my show choices past a group of students, parents, administrators and community members to see what reactions I get.

January 4, 2010
As a playwright looking to maximize audience attendance, I wish other playwrights wouldn't put inappropriate language in plays that don't need it. I'm not saying never drop the F-bomb or that playwrights shouldn't tackle tough subjects, but I believe harsh language should be used only where that kind of language would be expected--for example: a war story, cops behind closed doors, a snarky dramady or some blue collar comedy. So, now you have a choice of skipping shows with bad words and possibly missing out on sales for a popular show, or changing the harsh language and either watering down the dialog or risking the wrath of the playwright or publishing house. If it was me directing a high school play and the play only had a few bad words, I'd just change them. I know my audience, and I would do what it takes to make them happy. However, I would NOT choose a show that was--overall--inappropriate for my customers or one that needed more than a word changed here or there. Does that help?