Hi Haters. Would you be upset if your kids saw a play about two male penguins raising a baby penguin together? Or would the fact that the play was based on a real incident stop you from being narrow minded?
Via the Statesman.com:
A University of Texas play about two male penguin parents has ruffled feathers at the Austin school district, prompting the cancellation of 10 scheduled performances at Austin elementary schools.
Written by UT theater graduate student Emily Freeman, “And Then Came Tango” is a play about Roy and Silo, real penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo who were given a fertilized egg and raised the hatchling, Tango, together.
UT students first performed the play for second-graders at Lee Elementary School in Central Austin in October. District officials raised concerns about age appropriateness and suspended the play, finally canceling it at the end of the month.
This is the first time the district has canceled a UT performance.
“The subject matter communicated in the play is a topic that Austin ISD believes should be examined by parents/guardians who will discuss with their elementary school age children at a time deemed appropriate by the parents/guardians,” Greg Goodman, the Austin school district’s fine arts director, said in a letter to UT’s Coleman Jennings, the head of the university’s youth theater program.
The Austin school district has routinely allowed UT students to perform their works in schools to satisfy degree requirements. Freeman said she was disappointed about the cancellation of her play and said the work was meant to communicate messages of fairness, equality and love.
“The play is about different families,” and under state teaching standards, that’s appropriate for kindergarten, Freeman said, referring to state curriculum standards. “I can’t see the argument that it’s not age appropriate for kids in second and third grade.”
She said the cast and crew have performed the play for private schools in the area, as well as at Round Rock High School and Del Valle Middle School.
Jonathan Saenz, president of the conservative Texas Values group, said he believes the district made the right decision.
“We define marriage very clearly in the state of Texas. So if you have a play that tries to push and promote a different marriage definition, which is clearly illegal, it leads students to ask questions about it, and it leads to the discussion of sex,” Saenz said.
Some schools and advocacy groups, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group Family by Choice, have agreed to sponsor free performances of the show.
Carmel Drewes, whose son attends Ridgetop Elementary School in Central Austin, said the district overreacted and said she hopes her son will have the opportunity to see the play.
“The more that kids are encountering various symbolism and representations of family structure, the more normal it becomes,” Drewes said.
Freeman said she is working on what she could do differently to eventually show the play in the Austin school district.
Is the school district hating or just protecting the kids from thinking about sexuality too soon?