Schools are using plays with very offensive and explicit language.

(125 Posts)
Sherrie2 Fri 07-Feb-14 13:59:59

Parents may not be aware that whereas TV and films seek to protect children from inappropriate material using the watershed and film classifications, plays are not subject to any censorship and schools are using material for GCSE which would be viewed as for adults only. This is an issue for drama and English Literature. My daughter's play 'Mogadishu' contained about 400 expletives, including over 200 uses of the 'f' word and over 10 uses of the 'c' word, as well as sexually explicit language. She was 14 at the time and was made to feel very uncomfortable as she had to read the script out for drama. This particular play is being used all over the country in schools and pupils are being taken to see it, even though it is described as a 'gritty' adult drama and as 'ripely filthy'.

There are currently no limits on the use of this type of material. I have set up a government e-petition to ask for some regulations to be put in place in the use of school texts in order to bring some consistency with TV and Film ratings and to ensure that schools are more accountable for what they do.

Please sign it, as once it reaches 100,000 the government will debate it in the House of Commons. Thank you.

Here is the link to the petition. Hope you feel able to sign it.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/60223

takingthathometomomma Fri 07-Feb-14 19:47:29

hmm...

biscuit

Devora Fri 07-Feb-14 19:47:47

That is my local school and where my kids are headed. tbh I was rather cheered by this coverage - Mogadishu is supposed to be an excellent play, and provided the teachers handle it well I would be happy for them to do it.

It's ridiculous to petition the government to take action on this. Have you tried appealing to the governors, or mobilising other parents? If they are all with you, the school won't do it again. If they're not, your protest is sunk.

Sherrie2 Fri 07-Feb-14 19:48:47

There is no set text for GCSE drama. The school can choose what plays to do and admit there is a wealth of plays they could do which weren't so offensive. Whilst there will be some schools who take note of what is suitable for the age range, there are many who do not.f It is an inconsistency that standards of decency are maintained on TV and films, but this does not happen in school concerning plays and other literary texts.

CalamitouslyWrong Fri 07-Feb-14 19:57:36

Maybe we could start an (ironic) petition to try to stop people from trying to ban anything and everything they personally don't like and get their knickers in a twist about. grin

It would be just as sensible as 99.9% of online petitions.

HavantGuard Fri 07-Feb-14 19:59:01

I hadn't heard of the play. I had a quick Google. It looks like it would really engage teenagers.

MoominIsGoingToBeAMumWaitWHAT Fri 07-Feb-14 19:59:28

Can we please please please avoid bringing back censorship in theatre? Many contemporary playwrights who are considered pivotal to the development of British theatre would never have been discovered if censorship was still the way it used to be up until the 60s - Edward Bond, Sarah Kane etc.

Drama teachers can't win - if they aren't teaching texts, "Drama is a soft subject, they're just pretending to be trees". If they are teaching texts "Oh no heaven forbid plays should reflect real life and my 16 year old should be exposed to this". hmm

Studying plays like Mogadishu, Blasted, Saved (well... maybe leave Blasted until A Level; if you think Mogadishu is bad you should try reading Sarah Kane shock ) etc should be every bit as much a part of the curriculum as Shakespeare and Chekov. They're all vital parts of theatre.

Bloodyteenagers Fri 07-Feb-14 20:02:10

And so what?
Its a thought provoking play.
Either you are the parent whinging in the local rag or the reporter.
Gcse drama is meant to test the youngsters doing it. Its not all Disney fluffy shite. It's supposed to make them work and perform within a role.

straggle Fri 07-Feb-14 20:04:27

Excellent review of the play by the culture critic Mark Lawson, applauding the decision of one school to study this text.

I don't support your petition OP.

www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/feb/03/students-mogadishu-parents-vivienne-franzmann-schools-set-text

Sherrie2 Fri 07-Feb-14 20:04:39

I'm afraid you cannot trust the judgement of all teachers. They are fallible like the rest of us and that is why guidelines are helpful in maintaining certain standards.

Bloodyteenagers Fri 07-Feb-14 20:07:08

Isn't it rather telling that according to you it's played throughout schools in the country, but you are the only person not wanting it.

If you want censorship, home ed. Until then, let them have an education and yup this includes real life experiences.

But what are the "standards" is it just fuck and cunt that are beyond the pale or do you have a list that we could review?

I feel a bit sad for you that you only have 4 signatures.

However I think your petition is daft so won't be signing

Bloodyteenagers Fri 07-Feb-14 20:16:37

I feel sad for the op that only ONE parent complained to the school.

Like also the fact the op failed to mention that before they started studying the play, the teachers explained to the students what the play was about and they could opt out...

Ubik1 Fri 07-Feb-14 20:16:58

"They fuck you up, your mum and dad
They may not mean to but they do "

Loved that at school. And Tony Harrison's 'V'

Have you read Chaucer op?

CashmereHoodlum Fri 07-Feb-14 20:29:18

Which plays do you think the school should use instead, Sherrie? Do you have any particular playwrights in mind as being suitable for that age group?

ComfortablyGrumpy Fri 07-Feb-14 20:32:15

Sorry, nope, won't be supporting censorship.

Did you register with MN just to raise this issue OP? You can't be familiar with the site if you thought Mn would mobilise over a few cunts.

Plus what lauriefairycake said.

HamletsSister Fri 07-Feb-14 20:39:45

This really, really pisses me off. Not you OP but I teach and have had half arsed complaints from parents on occasion. One was about a novel, "I'm Not Scared" by Nicholas Ammanti - a wonderful and chilling book about a conspiracy involving child kidnap.

Said parent hadn't actually read the play but on page 11 or something some children torture and kill a chicken. The novel condemns this. The central character is appalled and, indeed, stands against the conspiracy that leads to a child being kidnapped. However, the parent wanted the book "banned" on the grounds that it had cruelty to animals in it.

What really boils my piss is people having opinions about things they haven't even read and certainly don't understand. Censorship borne of ignorance.

LeBearPolar Fri 07-Feb-14 20:47:26

It's all right, OP - if your petition is successful, it'll provide inspiration for Carol Ann Duffy.

Her scathing put down of the last woefully ill-read person to clutch her pearls over the shocking stuff they study in schools these days is here

LeBearPolar Fri 07-Feb-14 20:49:49

Sherrie - when you read Mogadishu, what did you think of it, swearing aside?

EvilTwins Fri 07-Feb-14 21:04:50

I'm a drama teacher. I teach plays with swearing in. Just last week, my Yr 10s were doing a play called "45 minutes". That has swearing in it. Earlier in the term, we looked at "Citizenship" and "DNA". I always talk to them about language. Decent playwrights (of which there are many) use language for effect, and so there are loads that students can learn from it. Incidentally, all three of those plays were written specifically for teenagers.

I will not be signing your petition OP. Luckily for me, the parents of the children I teach are far more sensible than you. I've only ever had one complaint, and that was when I showed the trailer of a 12 film to a Year 8 class (where everyone was at least 12) because it was a bit scary and one girl had nightmares.

BrandNewIggi Fri 07-Feb-14 23:27:44

We loved doing 'Philadelphia here I come' with its talk of "a bugeroo and a buggerette". I remember that despite it being about 600 years ago.

adoptmama Sat 08-Feb-14 07:51:33

"I'm afraid you cannot trust the judgement of all teachers. They are fallible like the rest of us and that is why guidelines are helpful in maintaining certain standards."

You don't want guidelines though, do you. You want censorship and control. You want to win and score points and say how much more moral and right you are than the teacher. You want the teacher to be wrong so you can be right. You want someone, not to agree there are other plays, but 'admit' there are, as if this somehow means the school agree the play was a poor choice.

You want to ban something because YOU don't approve of it. A quick google of your name from the petition brings up some interesting other links of fb etc. You may not mind making yourself so easily identifiable on the internet but I expect the teacher minds. I expect other parents of children in the class might mind just a little too. As a professional - albeit 'fallible' - teacher I mind on their behalf.

Censorship. That's what you want. So you can impose your middle-England, white, middle class values on a world that no longer exists.

As a teacher, I will say very bluntly how sick and fucking tired I am of parents like you who think they are experts on all fucking areas of the curriculum, educational theory, examination technique, classroom discipline etc because they once went to school. You don't want a partnership with a school. You want a lord-and-master relationship.

Because YOU don't like this play you have essentially made identifiable not only the school your daughter attends, but her teacher too.

Her teacher who - like every other teacher I know - works their arse off every fucking day to make the curriculum as interesting, engaging as relevant as possible.

Her teacher - who doesn't deserve to be made identifiable on a public forum on the internet.

Her teacher - silently professional on the whole issue.

Unlike you.

Ohwhatfuckeryisthis Sat 08-Feb-14 08:05:47

adopt well said.
Op biscuit yours, I believe, Mrs Whitehouse.

chosenone Sat 08-Feb-14 08:06:36

What about Godber? 'Bouncers' has a number of swear words and sexual references. Edexcel exam board always use the play as an example of good practice. Youtube is full of exam pieces from the play.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 08-Feb-14 08:10:42

Schools round here use Sarah Kane. I personally would leave that stuff until a level but I'm against censorship.

Kids who "choose" GCSE drama need to accept it's a subject that will challenge them & their preconceptions.

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