Flooding the Zone on a High School Anti-War Play

On Thursday, the Times issued its third feature on an anti-war student play put on by a Connecticut high school drama class (a flood-the-zone mentality that was lacking when it came to the terror threat at JFK Airport).

Drama students at Wilton High School wanted to put on an anti-war play, "Voices in Conflict," but the principal canceled the production, citing concerns about a lack of balance.

The Times got the controversy going with a March 24 story, and thanks to the Times the show is garnering publicity beyond its wildest expectations and is now doing a victory lap through NYC theatres.

Reporter Melena Ryzik explained: "They are all Connecticut high school students and performers in 'Voices in Conflict,' a 45-minute show that caused more than three months of controversy. The result is a kind of victory march through three prestigious New York theaters that culminates Friday night at the Public Theater.

"It began as a project in Bonnie Dickinson's advanced drama class at Wilton High School, with students and teacher working together to create a play about the Iraq war. The show was largely a series of monologues, telling the stories of actual soldiers in their own words, drawn from blogs, documentaries and a book of interviews.

"But in March, the school's principal, Timothy H. Canty, canceled the production, citing concerns about balance and sourcing and fear that it would disturb local military families. After an article about the ban appeared in The New York Times, 'the whole New York theater community called,' Ms. Dickinson said."

Ryzik made mini-martyrs out of the students: "The controversy in Wilton led to name-calling and hazing at school and online, which in turn led to a bond among cast members....That the show at the Public is the night before seven of the cast members are to graduate from high school (and coincides with a graduation rehearsal) reflects their dedication. They rehearsed intensely for a month - three hours a day, five days a week - negotiating around school and jobs and sports and parts in the school musical. Two students took the A.C.T. college exam the morning of the Vineyard performance."