School Plays and “Sensitivity”

Here is another one from Tamar, about heavily censored school plays. 

Every two years we put on a school play.  They would do the performance two nights in a row.

Obviously, the teachers would heavily censor the performance before it was approved, but also, mothers and other attendees (I think the word I’m looking for is “donors”) would deliver their feedback after the first night and the second night would be altered accordingly.

Despite the heavy censorship, it was always amusing to see what blatantly goyishe things would make it through, like songs adapted from Newsies and West Side Story, or lines lifted from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Things that were censored from the performance (some of these were removed prior to performance, some were removed after the first night due to audience complaints):

– Amazing singers were told, for the cast album, to tone down their singing because it was too good.

– One dance featured women and “men” [women who were clearly supposed to be representing men due to their baggy pantaloons and fake beards] dancing together. They were told that it was inappropriate to feature mixed dancing.

– One dance took place in front of a backdrop of the Beis HaMikdash. This was considered inappropriate and on the second night the backdrop was raised before the dance started.

– The words ‘pimple’ and ‘zit’ were banned and replaced with ‘blemish.’

– Play was scrubbed of mentions of college.

– One scene in the play was about the power of Tehillim. By the second night lines were added because the original on-the-nose dialogue just wasn’t getting the message across as intensely as they wanted.

– One scene in the play featured a mother who was so overwhelmed that when her child came to show off a drawing, she snapped at them that she was too busy and stalked off stage, leaving the child on a dark stage with a spotlight on them, plaintively asking the audience who would look at their picture? Apparently this just hit waaay  too close to home, because by the second night a scene was added to soften the blow, something like the mother returning to see the picture and making things right with the child.

So basically, if you thought your teachers were crazy, nah. They were just anticipating the crazies in the audience. 

Well, to be honest, trolling a Bais Yaakov play has got to be one of the few joys of attending it. I think I could actually take this up as a hobby. 

School Plays and “Sensitivity”

4 thoughts on “School Plays and “Sensitivity”

  1. > One dance took place in front of a backdrop of the Beis HaMikdash. This was considered inappropriate

    From Wikipedia: According to Josephus… Within this area was the Court of the Women, open to all Jews, male and female.… In this, the largest of the temple courts, one could see constant dancing, singing and music.


    1. Esther Bernstein says:

      If I had to guess, I’d say their reasoning was less about tznius in this case and more about mourning the churban or something like that.


  2. BYGRAD says:

    Wait, what is wrong with zit? Is it because that zits are mentioned in My Fat Greek Wedding? Or rhymes with a non-eidel word? Or… well what exactly was the problem here?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s