“Assassins” shot down

February 22, 2008
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
"All of us have a healthy respect for the freedom of artistic expression that college theater represents, and all of us agree that out of respect for the families of those victims of the tragedies at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech, and from an abundance of caution, it is best at this time not to undertake a campus production that contains the portrayal of graphically violent scenes."

So says Arkansas Tech President Robert C. Brown in an effort to explain why he put the kabosh on a student production of the musical "Assassins" that was scheduled to open this weekend. More details here.

"Assassins"—which was recently staged in Indy by Low Brow Productions at the Hedback Theatre and was presented years back at the Phoenix—looks at all of the people who have attempted to kill U.S. Presidents.

It does not come down in favor of their actions.

So what's your reaction to Brown’s move? If you disagree with it, are there any circumstances in which an administration would be justified in shutting down a student production?
ADVERTISEMENT
  • That's just plain dumb. The play doesn't have anything to do with school shootings. That's just someone over-reacting. I feel badly for the students who had put in their time and effort.
  • Our Nation's understanding and appreciation of the First Amendment is not passed along genetically. It must be reaffirmed and defended, over and over. Keep fighting and keep winning. ~ Paul Steinle

    Here are the addresses to use when contacting the ATU administration about the cancellation of the Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman play “Assassins. Please get involved.

    snail-mail:

    Dr. Robert Brown
    c/o Susie Nicholson
    1509 North Boulder Ave.
    Russellville AR 72801
    Administration Building

    e-mail:

    rcbrown@atu.edu Dr. Robert Brown, ATU President

    georgena.duncan@atu.edu Dr. Georgina Duncan, ATU Dean of Liberal Arts


    telephone:

    (479) 968-0237 for the president's office

    OR

    The Courier (letters to the editor)

    www.couriernews.com/letters.php


    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (letters to the editor)

    www2.arkansasonline.com/contact/voicesform
  • Just wanted to make clear that the LH above is not Lou Harry.
  • I am a student at ATU, and yes, I completely disagree with the administration's decision. I urge people to get involved and spread the word about this. Brown has claimed he was worried about the sound of gun shots being heard outside and around the theater.

    When they performed on Wednesday, they had to use their hands and say, Bang! Bang! in place of the prop guns. They couldn't even use wooden guns! It truly is a slap in the face to all the hard work and effort put into the production. My heart goes out to all those involved. The only time I've seen people that upset over something was when someone died... and in a way, something did die... their hard work, time, effort, and their chances to perform for an audience.
  • Unless a production poses a potential physical threat to students' safety, I see few justifiable reasons for the administration of a University to get involved in the content of performances on its grounds.

    Universities, more than any other kind of institution, need to be preserved as safe havens for free inquiry of all kinds. When people are grieving and sensitive about violence, what good does it do to suppress their ability to explore those feelings in context? Art gives us an excellent and safe environment with which to respond to life - with questions, fears, celebration, or release.

    Aristotle originally wrote about theatre as a literally cathartic experience, by which viewers could purge their emotions through identification with and/or consideration of the events onstage. A production like Assassins could have offered an opportunity to open up discussion about violence in American culture, and what leads people to engage in sociopathic behavior. Since it happens in front of you, the show provides a more immediate and engaging forum for those discussions than a philosophy or criminal justice class. Couldn't understanding the pathology of someone like John Hinckley offer an outlet for some of the feelings of loss, confusion, and astonishment at the actions of people who shoot up campuses?

    In other words, it seems that President Brown has sacrificed an opportunity for honest exploration of a traumatic event, out of fear that his own students will misinterpret a play and be upset. Doesn't that bespeak a lack of trust in his students' intelligence and judgment?

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

  2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

  3. Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.

  4. GOOD DAY to you I am Mr Howell Henry, a Reputable, Legitimate & an accredited money Lender. I loan money out to individuals in need of financial assistance. Do you have a bad credit or are you in need of money to pay bills? i want to use this medium to inform you that i render reliable beneficiary assistance as I'll be glad to offer you a loan at 2% interest rate to reliable individuals. Services Rendered include: *Refinance *Home Improvement *Inventor Loans *Auto Loans *Debt Consolidation *Horse Loans *Line of Credit *Second Mortgage *Business Loans *Personal Loans *International Loans. Please write back if interested. Upon Response, you'll be mailed a Loan application form to fill. (No social security and no credit check, 100% Guaranteed!) I Look forward permitting me to be of service to you. You can contact me via e-mail howellhenryloanfirm@gmail.com Yours Sincerely MR Howell Henry(MD)

  5. It is sad to see these races not have a full attendance. The Indy Car races are so much more exciting than Nascar. It seems to me the commenters here are still a little upset with Tony George from a move he made 20 years ago. It was his decision to make, not yours. He lost his position over it. But I believe the problem in all pro sports is the escalating price of admission. In todays economy, people have to pay much more for food and gas. The average fan cannot attend many events anymore. It's gotten priced out of most peoples budgets.

ADVERTISEMENT