Letter: Time for high school plays a to get a film-style rating system
May 15, 2014 | 1916 views | 2 2 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Last Friday, I took some of my family to the Scotts Valley High School spring musical, “Legally Blonde” — including my 9-year-old daughter.

In the past years, we have enjoyed attending the spring musicals as a family — among the favorites were “Seussical” and “Once Upon a Mattress.”

I love to support the SVHS drama department in such plays. However, this year was a disappointingly different experience!

Awkward moments like my 9-year-old plugging her ears and closing her eyes when she wasn’t comfortable with the suggestive dance moves and outfits of the girls on stage — girls she knows and recognizes from our community — and the headline song that repeatedly takes the name of God in vain are only a handful to name.

Thankfully, many of the innuendos went over her head. And to be fair, there was some excellent acting and some great humor and life lessons to learn from. Yet still, it was uncomfortable to sit there with my 9-year-old.

My point? I have a problem with supporting this kind of play!

However, I have a solution.

Not everyone will be as sensitive to questionable material in “entertainment.” If we knew what to expect, we could make an educated choice about whether we want to support any given play.

Therefore, I suggest that the local high schools simply offer a rating system — like the MPAA rating system that is used in motion pictures — when advertising their drama productions.

This would eliminate awkward, disappointing family viewing. A rating system for this year’s spring musical would have given me 3 extra hours of relaxation at home on a Friday evening rather than an uncomfortable expense of $42.


Amy Barton, Santa Cruz

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Tin Lizzy
May 31, 2014
Give me a break. You want extra time, effort, and expense for a rating system? That is ridiculous.
James Russles
May 19, 2014
Dear Mrs. Barton,

While I'm sure you and your daughter were, very honestly, offended by what the Scotts Valley High School drama department had performed, and that is not to be discounted in any way, the theatre arts has always been a safe haven for people from all walks of life to come together and participate in something they love very deeply.

Mrs. Barton, what I think you fail to realize is that the characters portrayed on stage are, just that. Characters. Your daughter may very well know the actors on stage, but the characters are brand new to her, and although she may find them embarrassing and downright lewd, the characters on stage are, in fact, portrayals of people one might meet in college or everyday life. Burying one's head in the sand and ignoring the ditzy, blonde party-girl aspects of life does not mean they're not there.

As for blaspheming and saying your Lord's name in vain, I know for a fact there were very devout Christians in the cast, and I also know that they did not give what they're saying a second thought. Actors, when reciting lines, don't tend to internalize what they're saying as gospel truth.

And as far as a rating system goes, I can not honestly see any real reason to implement one. If parents did the research on the shows they were taking their children to see, or even once googled the movie or broadway show it was based on, they might see that the "Bend And Snap" is a leading number of the show. Not to mention the fact that there would have to be a previously agreed-upon range of ages per show, and a series of reviewers to come in and preview every show to actually give it a rating, thus further tiring the actors, and crew, and technical workers, and forcing them to work even harder than they already do.

Mrs. Barton, I'm certain you're a wonderful parent, and I'm positive your children will grow up with a good understanding of the realities of the world around them. If I could offer any advice, and I know it's neither asked for nor sought after, I would say to you that the best thing you could give your children to help them as they grow up is a good example. And I thank you for writing with your concerns.

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