The Ottumwa Courier

July 13, 2013

The play's the thing

Ottumwa Courier

---- — What a disappointment to read in the Courier that Ottumwa school district officials won’t let high school drama students perform “The Laramie Project” play.

Their reasoning is that it is not a family-oriented play and that OHS students should be performing productions good for the whole family.

I do not agree with that decision. Children can see so much violence in their daily lives from television and movies. Look at what tops the box office: Malevolent machines attacking, killing, maiming, murdering, many under the guise of cartoon characters or creative creations. Kids flock to these movies. And to similar shows on television.

Not everything has to be kid-friendly.

High school drama students want to do their best performances, as do all the athletic and arts competitors. Can you hear Mr. Schneider, years ago, telling his singers — oh, we won’t sing that song, it’s too hard. Or a football coach telling players, we won’t play as hard as we can.

Many years ago, I attended an OHS drama production of “Rebel Without A Cause,” which also was questioned by school officials. But it was performed in an excellent manner.

And some former school board members will remember when we fought a handful of parents wanting to ban a book from the schools’ libraries. The book was not banned.

“The Laramie Project” is about bullying, about being gay, about murder. Of course it isn’t suitable for young children to watch. My thought is, you offer a tough play like that and then two or three others of a lighter nature during the school year.

Let the kids do their thing. Just as we celebrate OHS alumni who find success in sports, in music, in art, let us not deny that opportunity to students who may pursue an acting career.

We encourage children to get involved in sports and let them attend basketball and football games where older students get knocked down, slapped around and injured. When you see an 8-year-old wearing a pro sports jacket, you assume he or she is watching pro ballgames on television. Talk about violence!

In that same paper was an excellent editorial reminding voters to think about running for public office. Next month, candidates can start filing nomination papers for City Council and mayoral seats. I heartily agree that more citizens need to consider serving in city government. Personally, I would like to see more women throw their hat in the ring; at least one! I know quite a few intelligent, eligible women who would do an excellent job on the council. I don’t know, maybe they are too smart to run. Yes, you take a lot of criticism, but hopefully, you grow and learn.

Here’s a call out to the bus load of vacationers I was with on the southern trip in April. Our tour guide, Jeff, took a lot of photos of our group — with the Courier — standing in front of the Biltmore Mansion. The expectation is that one photo would be submitted to the Courier for the Courier travel page. I hope someone turns in a photo!

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.