Lights, camera… stop? Piedmont College’s production of The History of America (abridged) may not get the standing ovation it was looking for.
The History of America (abridged) was the theater department’s latest production satire that ran from April 11-14. However, the show was met with mixed reviews.
One of the main platforms where students were complaining was the Piedmont app. Due to this, many people who hadn’t even seen the play had their views influenced. This made it hard for the other people who were trying to defend the play to be able to voice their opinion, because they were being bombarded on all sides through this social media outlet.
Ashton Black is one those defenders. A Piedmont College theater member, he was promoting this event very heavily. He was greatly concerned as to why people took offense to the play, and really wanted to understand. “I think the root of the offense some people took was the fact that a great deal of the play was misunderstood. I just don’t think people realized that the play’s message is not malicious, just… a comedy about what’s wrong with American history,” he story.
An audience member who requested to remain anonymous, was not so understanding of the play. They said that “… the play was terribly offensive. It had something to say about everyone, whether it was racial or political, and that’s not right. We’re trying to bury the past, not dig it back up and make jokes out of it! I love Piedmont to death, and the theater department is filled with nothing but talent, but this was just too much.”
The were others who were right on the site of the production who got to have a fly-on-the-wall type of view. Rosellyn Miles, a seamstress for the play, seemed to not even bat an eyelash. “I was behind the stage during the entire run, and I saw it all. Those who claimed they got offended are the same ones who were laughing their heads off. If people gat offended it’s because they don’t know how to take a joke,” she said.
William Gabelhausen, Department Chair of the Piedmont theater, was somewhat concerned with the complaints of the play as well. He, however, looked at it in a different light. He said “… it made fun of everyone. It’s just satire at its finest. How can we become desensitized to our horrible past if we don’t face it and make it something we can handle? It’s almost inevitable that someone would get offended. It’s not everyone’s type of humor.”
With all the varying opinions targeted towards the theater department, it is safe to say that the say “art is subjective” still hold true, even for college play. As said simply by Joe Dudley in defense of the theater department, “… we didn’t write the play.”