Farmington North High School, outside of Detroit has parents foaming at the mouth with rage after they announced that this year’s spring theatrical production would be “Carrie: The Musical,” and for once I’m taking the outraged parent’s side. I get that some of the themes displayed in “Carrie” resonate with teenagers.The movie and subsequent musical delve into things like bullying, isolation and dealing with consequences, all of which are important subjects But in a post-Columbine and Sandy Hook world, I think any production that ends in a mass slaughter is an unwise choice for school kids to perform. How is this even a discussion?
School administrators aren’t backing down from their decision. They’re defending the production, calling it “topical” because it teaches an important lesson about bullying. In case you’re unfamiliar, “Carrie” is based on a Stephen King novel of the same name, about a shy, bullied teenage girl who uses telekinetic powers to get revenge on her tormentors. So…what exactly is the lesson here? If you bully someone, they might use their amazing mind-powers to decimate you and your entire class? After hearing about the planned production, one parent, Julie Devine told the Detroit Free Press:
“When I heard [the upcoming production] was a musical version of ‘Carrie,’ I was dumbstruck. I thought, ‘How arrogant, how insensitive and how reckless to put on a show that ends with a mass murder in a high school gym.’ ”
Joe Greene, the principal at Farmington North, says that he hopes the play with lead the audience to think about the events of the story “in light of how we treat others.” He went on to say:
“The musical ‘Carrie’ provides us a fantastical lens through which to examine and spur thought about the origin and impact of bullying, the impact of mental illness, and the choices we make about how we treat each other.”
Of course, Greene is conveniently leaving out the fact that Carrie incites a Columbine-level MASS MURDER at the end of the film/play. To be fair, Superintendent Susan Zuralec noted that there will be “appropriate editing” done to the script, but how much editing can they do before the entire meaning is lost? Do they take out the slaughter at the end? What about the infamous period scene? The entire point of the story is “teenage psychic kills bullies,” not “teenage psychic reasons with bullies and then sings a jaunty tune.” I guess we’ll have to wait and see what they do with it, but I do NOT foresee this ending well.