Play criticism uncalled for
Re: Prince Rupert school board defends "sexually suggestive" high school play.
I was saddened to see that a colleague of Ms. O'Toole found it necessary to file a written complaint with the school district regarding her choice of musicals.
I know for a fact that Ms. O'Toole spends a lot of time and takes a lot of care when choosing a play each year. She reads scripts all summer (on her vacation) looking for an appropriate play that has the right number of male and female roles that will showcase the strengths of the students she will have that year. She has even written in extra parts so that every student will have a role to play. While there are many other musicals, after 20+ years of teaching drama she has already directed most of them. It is difficult to find a musical that is fresh and new that will appeal to the students. Legally Blonde - the Musical has been on Broadway, just as many of the other musicals Ms. O'Toole directed have been.
If Ms. Hague believes that "acting" in a play will encourage the youth of Prince Rupert to become the characters they portray, she obviously does not have much respect for the young people in her community. The arts are about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Musical theatre and drama allow actors to express themselves in a safe and positive manner. It is "inappropriate" to attack the arts when the youth of today are exposed to much worse sex and violence every day in all types of media while nobody blinks an eye.
I flew up to Prince Rupert with the express purpose of attending this musical. Ms. O'Toole is my sister and this was the first time I have had the opportunity to see one of her productions. I attended every night. What I saw were young people that were proud and excited to be in this production. The performance on the stage is a small portion of what is involved in being in a musical. These kids have learned the meaning of hard mental and physical work as well as punctuality, reliability, teamwork and what it means when one makes a commitment. They have had to juggle rehearsal and work schedules and get their homework done. They have not learned to be promiscuous or crude; on the contrary, they have learned life skills. Something most of our educational system does not provide.
In closing, I would like to say that teachers that give hundreds of hours of their own time because they are passionate about what they do, and genuinely care about their students, are few and far between. I would not blame Ms. O'Toole for choosing not to direct another musical, but if this were the case it would be the community of Prince Rupert's loss.
I doubt that one person who complained about this musical donates a fraction of the time Ms. O'Toole does to their community — I know that our community would love to have her.