From today's edition:
|(photo: Emily Freeman)|
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.
Read more at the Austin Statesman online. . . .
Written by Emily Freeman
Directed by Roxanne Schroeder-Arce
November 30 at 7:00 p.m.
December 1 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
December 2 at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Oscar G. Brockett Theatre
The performances are free and open to the public. Seating is limited.