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Old 12-04-2019, 02:02 PM
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Default Westchester school cancels ‘Tarzan’ play after parents’ racism complaints


Westchester school cancels ‘Tarzan’ play after parents’ racism complaints
By Gabrielle Fonrouge
December 4, 2019 | 12:46pm | Updated

Tarzan just got canceled in Westchester.

Administrators at a high school in Elmsford are nixing a student play based on the famed Edgar Rice Burroughs story after two parents complained that the beloved tale is laced with implicit racism and imperialism.

The Alexander Hamilton High School parents were especially worried that the roles of apes in the production might be cast with students of color , superintendent Marc Baiocco said.

“Some members of our school community had expressed concerns over the racial undertones of the source material, and the district agreed to reconsider the choice,” Baiocco added in a statement, saying the school planned to do the “Disney” adaption of the story.

“We are grateful to those who felt comfortable enough to share their concerns as we strive to be an inclusive district which fosters an environment of communication and understanding.”

The school’s drama club will instead produce a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and plans to hold auditions Wednesday for the production.

The decision to swap “Tarzan” for “Twelfth Night” was done in part to make sure every action the district takes has equality for all students in mind, Baiocco said.

Students at the school had mixed reviews on the choice.

“I feel like they’re making a big deal out of it… I don’t think that’s the point behind it,” Cynthia Lopez, 16, told The Post.

A still from Disney’s 1999 film “Tarzan”Walt Disney Co.

“I know how a lot of people have seen Tarzan. There’s obviously, you know, animals and the jungle. That’s what Tarzan is about.”

Another junior at the school, who declined to give their name, said he didn’t understand the reasoning behind the cancellation.

“I really wanted to see the effects. I wanted to see Tarzan swinging from a vine,” the student said.

Other students welcomed the decision and said the school made the right choice to cancel the production.

“Tarzan takes place in Africa and a white man is the king of the jungle. That’s where the problem is,” Janan Chrisitian, 16, said.

“Tarzan of the Apes” was first introduced to the public in 1912 by Burroughs, who centered the story on a white man who comes of age in a contentious African world.

Critics in the modern era believe Tarzan’s life in the jungle represents the negative side of colonialism and has no place in a post-colonial world.

On the other hand, “Twelfth Night” is a relatively non-controversial romantic comedy , believed to have been written by the Bard around 1601 or 1602.

The play centers on the story of twins Viola and Sebastian, who lost each other after a devastating shipwreck.
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