Open Forum

Anything Goes Set?

  • 1.  Anything Goes Set?

    Posted 20 days ago
    HELP! I'm looking for a rental set for Anything Goes. I've got to find it ASAP or else I'll have to build it. My school is east of Pasadena (around 210 & 605 freeways).

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    Daniel Ingram
    Drama Teacher
    MONROVIA CA
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  • 2.  RE: Anything Goes Set?

    Posted 19 days ago
    Production dates? When do you need it? What is your budget?

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    Adam Wagner
    Houston TX
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  • 3.  RE: Anything Goes Set?

    Posted 19 days ago
    Our performance dates are April 12 & 13, load in April 6 &/or 7. We might be able to rent it for around $2000-3000. Our total show budget is $9000.

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    Daniel Ingram
    Drama Teacher
    MONROVIA CA
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  • 4.  RE: Anything Goes Set?

    Posted 18 days ago
    Hi Daniel -

    You don't know me, but I saw your post and felt a need to respond.

    I hate to throw a wrench in your works, but while ANYTHING GOES (both versions) contains one of the best scores ever written for the musical theatre, it is a very racist show that really shouldn't be produced anymore - especially by high schools who should set a moral example.

    When we were contemplating producing this show at my school a few years ago, I ordered both versions of the show but I was shocked to discover that the racism was equally bad in both. There is nothing funny about laughing at a race of people because they don't speak the same language as the audience does nor because they have customs that are different from our own.  When I asked Tams Whitmark if they have alternative pages to offer, they said "no - these are the only two versions of the script." There are so many other great shows out there, I encourage you to look for one that won't offend your audience or place your students in an uncomfortable situation.

    If you are going to produce this show anyway, PLEASE be sensitive to this issue. We, as educators should be aware of ethnic humor from another era and make responsible choices for our students.

    If you do some Googling - you will find much discussion on the issue online as well.

    For example:
    In Anything Goes, everything goes except for racism
    The Schreiber Times remove preview
    In Anything Goes, everything goes except for racism
    The recent Schreiber production of Anything Goes, written in 1934, has certainly set us back eighty years or so. But it didn't leave me feeling sentimental. Let it be known that the students involved were all marvelous. The incredible talent of the cast (and crew) was plainly evident in the phenomenal acting, singing, and dancing....
    View this on The Schreiber Times >



    Other educators have also inquired on this forum about how to deal with the Chinese characters - you might want to read their threads:
    Open Forum
    Schooltheatre remove preview
    Open Forum
    Join the discussion happening in EdTA's Theatre Education community!
    View this on Schooltheatre >






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    Jeff Bengford
    Performing Arts Chair & Theatre Arts Educator
    Westmont High School
    Campbell, CA 95008
    www.WestmontDrama.com
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  • 5.  RE: Anything Goes Set?

    Posted 18 days ago
    Thanks for the moral advise. However, you are not the first person to raise this concern. My school is about 40% Asian American, so I was already prepared to turn those scenes on their heads. You can't officially change the words of a work without violating copyright law, but you can change the delivery and staging.

    On your other point I must disagree. I think the audience can figure out what's right and wrong without us deciding for them. I normally wouldn't have replied to your post in the off chance that it made me look like a racist by going ahead with the show. However, you are bringing up the issue of censorship, so I feel I must respond.

    My school almost didn't allow us to produce The Laramie Project a month ago, and the administration's reasoning was similar to your statement about high schools setting a "moral example."

    I think that one of the things keeping live theatre alive is asking an audience to question the values of their society by making them uncomfortable. I don't want to live in a society where discrimination exists, nor do I want to be forced to do or not do something (like laughing when someone uses the wrong word in a situation) because it might offend the person next to me.

    Respectfully,

    Daniel Ingram

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    Daniel Ingram
    Drama Teacher
    MONROVIA CA
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  • 6.  RE: Anything Goes Set?

    Posted 18 days ago
    Hi again -

    I am glad to hear you've been thinking about how to deal with this issue in your production.

    Just to be clear, I never mentioned censorship nor did I intend to imply you should censor your program.  I was just trying to alert you to a potential problem with this particular show. And I do think we have a responsibility to choose shows that will challenge our students but not put them in harm's way. Just putting on a show is hard enough.

    It is not fair to compare The Laramie Project (a show I have produced twice in my 20 years at Westmont) with Anything Goes. The core theme of Laramie Project is that of ACCEPTANCE - what is the core theme of Anything Goes?  Is there one?  I'm not sure, maybe there is one.

    But it looks like we will have to respectfully agree to disagree re. what live theatre in the high school arena is about and what it is for.  Personally, I would never want our audiences to feel "uncomfortable." And I would never ask my students to tell a joke or play a character that I knew would offend someone in the audience. Making an audience think is one thing, offending them is another.

    Good luck with your production!  I hope it will be educational, enlightening and entertaining.

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    Jeff Bengford
    Performing Arts Chair & Theatre Arts Educator
    Westmont High School
    Campbell, CA 95008
    www.WestmontDrama.com
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  • 7.  RE: Anything Goes Set?

    Posted 17 days ago
    ​Hi, Daniel,

    I don't really have a point to make about this discussion one way or the other, except that as issues regarding cultural insensitivity arise--and they will--the important element is not what's "right" as nothing rarely is but that we stay aware of what we are dealing with. Both you and Jeff made cogent points--and that is my point.

    I was so pleased to see two people treat a touchy issue with mutual respect. Too often, lately, if you see a downside to something like affirmative action, someone else sees you as wanted to revive the Good Old South. If you have a problem with the way the border is handled, you are a Snowflake.

    There was an issue of "censorship." I think that's an important topic to be on the table for discussion. I believe we sometimes censor ourselves without knowing it. Sometimes for the right reasons. Sometimes not. Do we ban Mark Twain or E. Hemingway for the use of the N word. In today's climate, I find it offensive. (M mother found it offensive in the 1040's and threw my father out of the house for 3 days for using it.) But I'm not willing to take their books off of school library shelves.

    Sorry,I raised a topic within a topic, I guess. This month, I'm going to be writing a series of blogs about diverse casts as well as the use of Readers Theater in the classroom and on the community stage. I'll share that link with this forum if there's anything I think might be of interest to the people subscribed here. And I'd love to get your comments.

    When do we decide a play just doesn't belong in our repertoire any longer for these reasons? Is South Pacific no longer viable? If it is, then how do we handle issues that weren't issues at the time of its first production.

    I don't have any answers. Except that, the more we talk, and the less we name call (which no one here has done, a delightful exception to what one finds on discussion groups these days) the closer we get to working through our own issues. Thanks, Jeff and Daniel, for prompting some thoughts.





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    Jean Klein
    [Playwright/Founder HaveScripts/BlueMoonPlays]
    Virginia Beach VA
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  • 8.  RE: Anything Goes Set?

    Posted 17 days ago
    I'm not a teacher (I'm a set designer), but I'm going to pipe in for a second with maybe a slightly different perspective.

    Later today, a director and I are going to have our initial meeting about a show I was just hired to design. My questions for him are going to start with "why do you want to do this show" and proced with ones like what does he want the audience to get out of it, what does he want the audience to take with them, how is the show relevant today (or is it, or does it need to be), and so forth. I'm not putting him on the defensive here: I'm getting inside his head so we can meet in the middle and define his goal and his vision of the show. Once I know his intentions and we define his vision, I can begin to figure out how to portray that vision as a physical space.

    I've been doing it for years and have found that a lot of directors like it because it really makes them think up front about stuff that often doesn't come up until later. They also find it refreshing that our first meeting isn't about what he or she  wants for a set. That doesn't come up at all.

    To do the show or not because it may be offensive, or to worry about censorship, are valid issues, but I think that in live theatre we also need to consider why we want to do the show, and there could be lots of valid reasons: big cast, great music, comedy, poigniancy, relevance, and so on and on. This is what helps "sell" the show, and the concept, to the audience. And, in this case, to the admins and students.

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    George F. Ledo
    Set designer
    www.setdesignandtech.wordpress.com
    www.georgefledo.net
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