Voices in Conflict: Free speech in an American high school
In November 2008, Connecticut Public Television aired this special that includes substantial excerpts from a complete performance of Voices In Conflict. WHS drama teacher Bonnie Dickinson won an Emmy for her direction. © Connecticut Public Television.
On March 13, 2007, Tim Canty, principal of Wilton High School in Wilton, Connecticut, rescinded permission for the school’s Theater Arts II class to perform “Voices In Conflict”, a staged recitation of letters from soldiers and participants in the Iraq War.
On April 12, the students announced that in June they would be performing Voices In Conflict at the New York Public Theater, the Culture Project, and the Vineyard Theater in Manhattan, and at the Fairfield Theater Company in Fairfield, Connecticut.
The New York Times article that brought international attention to the matter is no longer available for free online, but it appears in my first blog post on the controversy. (Note also the April 18 correction)
Here are early drafts of the playscript for “Voices In Conflict”, in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. The final version performed in June contained virtually all of this material but with a vastly different structure, including an ending with references to the controversy.
Here are my posts to date on the subject:
- Drama in Wilton (March 29)
- The drama in Wilton, continued (March 30)
- Of witch-hunts and Stepford children (April 2)
- “Work on the scripts and keep our options open” (April 3)
- Defending censorship in Wilton (April 6)
- A fair and balanced Voices In Conflict (April 7)
- “The true story of free speech in America” (April 8)
- Tim Canty: “A farce of ethics bordering on the surreal” (April 9)
- Voices In Conflict goes to the Public Theater (April 12)
- Voices In Conflict: The Administrator’s Cut (April 13)
- The Times’s “apology” (?) for their Voices In Conflict article (April 19)
- The Villager corrects its apology … apologizes for its incorrectness … or something … (April 21)
- Voices In Conflict: The honors accumulate (May 14)
- Cast honored for Courage In Theater (May 24)
- Voices In Conflict debuts tonight (June 6)
- Fairfield Weekly highlights the VIC cast (June 6)
- The first reactions in the media (June 7)
- A legitimate educational experience (June 9)
- “What you and your students have done is what we fight to protect” (June 10)
- Voices on video (June 12)
- Voices encore performance in Fairfield (June 13)
- Voices in the newspapers of record (June 14)
- “What we saw tonight was the reason to have a theater” (June 19)
- Welcome news from the Wilton Board of
CensorshipEducation (June 19)
- Voices In Conflict on Democracy Now (June 21)
- “You take that play somewhere else!” (June 22)
- It’s catching on (June 27)
- Patriotism, 2007 (July 4)
- Voices In Conflict: The empire strikes back (September 1)
- A letter to Gary Richards (September 15)
- NCAC to honor Voices In Conflict cast (October 29)
If you have links to other online articles, blogs, etc., on any side of this controversy, please post them in the comments section of this page and I’ll add them. For purposes of these pages I’m only interested in sites that are publicly available (no Facebook or Myspace, for example), and only original material (not just crossposts of other articles).