Putting on a play your administration doesn’t like

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Episode 168: Putting on a play your administration doesn’t like Sometimes you want to do a show on a tough subject matter. Sometimes your administration doesn’t want you to. In this episode, teacher Chris Evans talks about his experience producing a play on gun violence. How did he communicate with his administration? What was the response? What advice does he have for others? Show Notes Clowns with Guns Chicken. Road. Episode Transcript Welcome to TFP – The Theatrefolk Podcast – the place to be for Drama teachers, Drama students, and Theatre educators everywhere. I’m Lindsay Price, resident playwright for Theatrefolk. Hello! I hope you're well. Thanks for listening! All right, this is Episode 168. You can find any links to this episode in the show notes which are at Theatrefolk.com/episode168. Surprise, surprise! Today, we are talking communication – the communication of a play to an audience that’s got some tough subject matter, all about communicating tough subject matter to both a receptive audience and a not receptive audience, and also the communication that has to happen between a teacher and their administration about doing a play with tough subject matter. The title of this podcast is: “Putting On a Play Your Administration Doesn’t Like – How That Is Not an Impossible Situation.” We recently published a script by Teacher Chris Evans called Clowns with Guns. It is an unflinching look at gun violence in schools. It’s one that many people were offended by when it was done, including Chris’ administration. So, what was that experience like for Chris? How did he keep a positive communication going with his administration and with all those involved with the show? You don’t need to hear that from me! Let’s hear it directly from Chris! Let’s get to it and find out. LINDSAY: I am talking to Chris Evans. Hello, Chris! CHRIS: Hello, hello, hello! LINDSAY: Hello, hello, hello! Tell everybody where in the world you are. CHRIS: I am smack dab in the middle of the state of Montana – Great Falls, Montana. We’re about 90 miles north of the capital of Helena. We are on the plains. It’s a beautiful 91 degrees and humid. LINDSAY: All the good things! CHRIS: Absolutely! LINDSAY: There are folks who are very attracted to 91 and humid. CHRIS: I was born and raised in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona in July. My mother never lets me forget that. LINDSAY: So, there’s no excuses for you – no excuses for you. CHRIS: This is jacket weather right now, so… LINDSAY: All right then! All right, everyone, put on your jackets and we’re going to start this. Actually, you know, put on your jackets, strap yourselves in. We’re going to have a very – I think – interesting conversation – I think – a necessary conversation for a lot of folks out there who might be in the same shoes or they’re afraid to get into the issues. What we’re going to talk about today is doing a play that your administration might not like you to do – or, more strongly, does not want you to do. Chris, you were in this situation. CHRIS: Yes, I was. Basically, the backstory in this is I was looking for a play to do at our state thespian convention which happens every February here and I can’t consistently do a theatre form play. Otherwise, the secret’s going to be out. And so, I decided to write one and I started, this was around the time that mass shootings here in America were just happening almost daily. I was angry about it so I decided to start writing a play about what seemed to me was acceptance of these shootings happening in America. I wanted to tie it in with a class lesson on absurdity and satire. And so, the play – Clowns with Guns (A Vaudeville) – was born. Essentially, it takes place in a circus atmosphere, with iconic characters, and a group of audience that I call the Goobers decided to come see the show and they’re happy to see the show.

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