Sunday, March 15, 2009

A good egg

Steve Martin is a good egg.

A high school in eastern Oregon planned to put on his play, "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," until parents objected and the school board forbade it. The students raised local funds to do the play in an off-school venue, and Steve Martin read about it online. He's donating to the fund so that they can perform his play:

He said the offer was aimed at allowing people to determine whether they wanted to see the play, "even if they are under 18. I predict that the experience will not be damaging, but meaningful."

Martin said he could understand how some parents might object to their 16- or 17-year-olds delivering some lines, and he said whether the play should be presented at the high school itself "remains something to be determined by the community."

He said, though, that he believed young people could be inspired by seeing the play or, if permitted by parents, by performing in it, and that the La Grande student actors seemed to understand that the "questionable behavior sometimes evident in the play is not endorsed."

He said he disagreed strongly with local characterizations of the play as having to do with "people drinking in bars, and treating women as sex objects."

"With apologies to William Shakespeare," his letter said, "this is like calling Hamlet a play about a castle."

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