Every show biz impresario knows that the best way to get to Broadway is not by waiting for Guffman but by stirring up a little controversy. Though it seems unlikely that’s what Connecticut high school students intended while developing a play about the Iraq quagmire, controversy is what they got when Principal
Skinner Canty cancelled their little performance. After the ensuing uproar, which included public outcries from such heavyweights as Edward Albee and Christopher Durang, two off-Broadway theaters in New York have offered to produce the play, called Voices in Conflict.
In yesterday’s Times article, photographer Christopher Capozziello does a sly job of portraying the Principal (pictured) as the prototypical grim apparatchik whose thought bubble seems to be, “For crying out loud, what ever happened to staging Bye Bye Birdie or Camelot?” Instead, the little punks had to go and do something topical.
But Voices in Conflict hardly seems like your typical flag-burning, Defeatocrat propaganda; the text is compiled mainly from soldiers who have served in Iraq. (According to the first Times article on the subject, Canty may have been acting on objections from a student with a family member serving in Iraq.) In any case, Wilton High School’s loss may be New York’s gain; the Public Theater and the Culture Project have both tentatively committed to producing the show in June. Just one problem: that puts rehearsals like right in the middle of prom planning season!