Administration shuts down spring play before production

Drawing of the original Robin Hood tale. An updated version of the tale was pulled out of production by school administration on February 24. Photo by creative commons.

Drawing of the original Robin Hood tale. An updated version of the tale was pulled out of production by school administration on February 24. Photo by creative commons.

Last weekend, school administration abruptly stopped the production of the spring play, “Marian: The True Tale of Robin Hood” following controversy of the play’s contents.

“Marian: The True Tale of Robin Hood” by Adam Szymkowicz is the gender-bending story of Robin Hood. Similar to movies like Mulan, Robin Hood is actually Maid Marian in disguise. She does this to earn the respect and do what she loves without feeling the pains of trying to succeed as a woman. The play contains a same-sex relationship and a non-binary character, which has sparked some concern among students and adults in the community.

Students auditioned for the spring play on February 22 and 23. Theater director and teacher Emily Grillo, made clear the nature of the play before people auditioned. Students were given the opportunity to opt out of any part. Much effort was also made to make sure everyone involved in the production, including parents and family, was comfortable with the entire audition process. Less than 24 hours later, the students who auditioned met with Mrs. Grillo and principal Cleve Million, in which they were informed that “Marian” would be cancelled for the spring season.

The cancellation of the spring play upset the local theater community and student body, as a petition was started on the same day. This petition claimed that if it received 250 signatures, it would be brought to the administration to try and get “Marian” back on the stage. The petition, started on,  explains the play was cancelled because of “safety concerns for the students involved,” and that various adults in the community believed it should not be performed.

The creator of the petition, who would like to remain anonymous for safety reasons, felt as though starting the petition was important for the inclusion of everyone in the school, and believes that the school is not doing enough to do so.

“It [starting the petition] was probably very rash and not thought out, but I don’t regret starting it now seeing how far it’s gone,” the petition creator said.

The creator believes something needs to change within the adults working and living in the NACS district in order to move towards a more accepting and safe community.

“I really hope the administration will do the right thing,” the creator said. “I don’t think they were expecting us to fight back, but I really hope this makes them reconsider their decision on letting the production move forward, especially with the support of parents and their own staff.”

As of 2 p.m. today, 2,608 people have signed and commented on the situation. The creator of the petition handed over the ownership of the petition to senior Kaitlyn Gulley. Gulley is the senior leader of the Gay-Straight Alliance group, and wishes to advocate for the play to happen.

“With the petition, I hope to show NACS the importance of LGBTQ+ representation and get the play back up and running as soon as possible,” Gulley said. “I feel as if minorities such as the queer community, people of color, and people who believe in religions other than Christianity don’t have the representation we need nor the respect we deserve. With the play I think it could be a good opportunity for Carroll to take a step forward in the right direction.”

Several people who auditioned feel as though the cancellation is setting the school back in terms of inclusivity, and is only creating more conflict. Senior Maya Lockman believes the administration should take a stronger hold of the situation in order to avoid more division than the cancellation has already caused.

“If they truly care about the safety of the students, then they should punish the people who take violent actions against the actors,” Lockman said.

There will be a school board meeting tonight, February 27 at 6 p.m. on 13119 Coldwater Road. Attendees should enter through Door 3, and a number of students will be going to the meeting.

The administration did not respond to several requests to speak on the issue.

Update: Late February 27, Superintendent Wayne Barker decided after the school board meeting that the theater department will not be performing the play.