Plug pulled on 'inappropriate' school play

January 20, 2005
Peter Busch Reports

Plug pulled on 'inappropriate' school play

School administrators at Ironwood Ridge High School in Oro Valley cancelled a school play after deeming its content unsuitable for the community.

Drama students at the school had been working on an adaptation of "Cannibal: The Musical", a parody about the 19th century westward journey of Alfred Packer and four other men who got stranded in the Rocky Mountains.

Packer was the only survivor of the trip, and he later became the first person in American history to be convicted of cannabilism.

The original script has its share of gory moments, but the students say they spent months editing the play to make it suitable for all audiences.

For example, the cannibalistic scenes in the play had been re-written to appear in silhouette, but that still wasn't good enough for the school administration.

"The most explanation we got was from our drama teacher, who said that our community wasn't ready for it," said Caitlin Singer, who was to be the lead actress in the play.

Singer's brother was the production's director and their mother is a teacher at Ironwood Ridge, and the play apparently had her stamp of approval.

"She thought it was great, she wanted to come see it, she was going to encourage all her classes to come see it," said Caitlin.

The students say they knew from the beginning they were pushing the envelope with the play, but say that could only bring positive results.

"Students would have come and seen the show, which they don't normally do, because it was something controversial," said co-director Lara Hochulli.

The students say the show will go on despite these recent setbacks. They plan on taking the production to an independent theatre in Tucson.

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