Thank you everyone for the responses I am actually overwhelmed with the support.they had a meeting with the principal of the school and she was contacted by MTI saying no changes however she does not agree.this was the response from the principal of the school and I don't know how to respond to these actions if anyone has any advice on path forward would be greatly appreciated.
UPE CMT Program directors and staff,
Thank you to everyone who was able to join the call or be in my office this afternoon for this discussion.
I appreciate all the time and consideration that were taken to arrive at these agreements.
Our collective goal is that our students involved with this show have a valuable, positive experience with UPE CMT.
My school is an ULTRA CONSERVATIVE area. I wanted to stage Arsenic and Old Lace. As you likely know, there are about 20 lines in the three act play involving mostly "hell", a couple of "damns", and a couple of "G*d" instances. I consulted my principal at the time (now superintendent) because he has oversight when it comes to approval of productions for staging. I typed up a letter. He took it to our board. They didn't understand why I couldn't just change the language. I tried to explain to one of the board members (who also happens to be my cousin) why, she refused to listen.
After the initial discussion, Dramatists had a representative who originally said we could change the "curses". I thought I had cleared all the hurdles, signed the contract, sent the P.O., all of it. We had auditions and started rehearsals.
Two weeks in, that girl's boss e-mailed me and said it was a "classic play" that had been produced by many schools as written over the years and they could not make a language exception for us. The board at that point denied us the right to do the show.When I told my kids, they were livid. Some of them and/or their parents started calling board members. My principal called me in to see if I had incited a riot. I told him I hadn't. We had a meeting that afternoon about the cancellation of the show with him, me, and the school counselor. It broke my heart. That was my first play attempt where I am which is also my Alma Mater. This decision has made my job infinitely harder when it comes to selecting shows we can do.I have been waiting for a complete turnover of the board to try to go in and educate them about why you cannot just change words. My public was looking forward to Arsenic, but if the district tells you language must be changed and the licensing house says no - you pretty much have no choice left but to cancel the show.
Wow. As others have said, don't do the show with the changes, as you'd knowingly be violating the law. As it is, while I'm not an attorney, the principal's position could leave them personally exposed. Certainly the school will be, especially since MTI's position has been made clear.I think it's important to let the superintendent know, as I doubt any superintendent (or school board) would be amenable to a subordinate knowingly violating the law and exposing the district to legal action.Unfortunately, the kids are probably going to suffer here because of the adults. I hope the program survives, but it's important that everyone obey the law and understand the importance of respecting the copyright of the creators of the work. Good luck, and keep us posted.Cheers,Jonathan
I would definitely contact the superintendent. It is time to do it, in my opinion. Clearly express you are trying to prevent the district from experiencing legal repercussions, fines, and headaches that can simply be avoided by staying true to the terms of your legally binding contract.By the way, is your name the only one on that contract, or did admin sign off on it as well? If it is just yours, I would explain what the ramifications for you would be if you did as the admin instructs you to do.Ethical behavior does not allow us to break contracts. In my state we have a code of ethics for educators (I know you expressed you are a parent) that says we follow the letter of the law. The contract is a legally binding document. Breaking it, in my evaluation, would be a violation of the code the state has set for our teachers. Breaking the code could cost us our license to teach if an investigation was held and we were found guilty. That is usually part of my response as to why we can't just change this word or that one in addition to IT'S ILLEGAL TO DO SO! PLAYS ARE COPYRIGHTED WORKS!
If the superintendent backs you, then I would likely give the parents of the children who are concerned the option of withdrawing their students from the show if it runs without changes (IF you can do that. I know it will depend on roles and when you open.).Personally, I worry about what precedent this may set for your upcoming productions (as Arsenic has mine). If the higher ups do not support your side of the issue, the show must be cancelled, in my opinion.