Regarding Chapell Players

To the Editor:

Regarding “Administration Censors Chappell Player’s Production”(Torch, 10/29/03), we would like to commend Editor-in-Chief JessicaLyons for her balanced coverage of the story. She sought out bothsides of the issue, as any responsible journalist should do.

We do feel there are some facts that need emphasizing:

– The Chappell Players were free to choose whatever productionthey wanted, a liberty not enjoyed by theater companies at othercolleges and universities. The choice of “Hair,” a show that dealswith issues of sex, drugs and racism, was accepted by theAdministration, with the caveat that those issues be handledresponsibly.

– The director and the students agreed – before rehearsals evenbegan – that certain elements of the show would be modified so asto be appropriate to a Catholic university environment. To thestudents’ credit, they came up with creative ways for themodifications to enhance the production, rather than detract fromit. A script was agreed upon before the director was hired, and thedirector accepted the job knowing about these modificationconditions.

– Students were also told there may be more changes to the showif necessary. The signs were one of those later modifications thatdid not appear in the original script, and came to the attention ofthe Administration halfway through the run of the show.

– Students were never told nor were they ever in jeopardy ofpermanently being suspended. They were informed that if they wereto cancel their production, ticket money would have to be refunded(jeopardizing the financing of future productions) and theirperforming arts financial aid grants would have to be forfeited(because by not performing, they were not living up to theirfinancial aid commitment).

– The University does not condone censorship, nor did itpractice censorship while supporting the students in the staging ofthis successful production.

In the end, the most important thing to note is that theChappell Players broke every attendance record ever set for atheatrical production at St. John’s and staged a fine performanceworthy of our collective praise.

Mary Pelkowski
Director of Campus Activities and Performing Arts
Center Counseling Center