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Late Nite FDL: Wilton High School


Photo by Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times 

Good on ya, kids:

WILTON, Conn., March 22 — Student productions at Wilton High School range from splashy musicals like last year’s “West Side Story,” performed in the state-of-the-art, $10 million auditorium, to weightier works like Arthur Miller’s “Crucible,” on stage last fall in the school’s smaller theater.

For the spring semester, students in the advanced theater class took on a bigger challenge: creating an original play about the war in Iraq. They compiled reflections of soldiers and others involved, including a heartbreaking letter from a 2005 Wilton High graduate killed in Iraq last September at age 19, and quickly found their largely sheltered lives somewhat transformed.

“In Wilton, most kids only care about Britney Spears shaving her head or Tyra Banks gaining weight,” said Devon Fontaine, 16, a cast member. “What we wanted was to show kids what was going on overseas.”

But even as 15 student actors were polishing the script and perfecting their accents for a planned April performance, the school principal last week canceled the play, titled “Voices in Conflict,” citing questions of political balance and context.

There's a very good account in this article of all the ways the kids tried to amend the play's content to make it acceptable to the Lieberman voters who killed the production (I'm sure you're all shocked to learn Lieberman won Wilton handily last November).  Well worth a read.

Seems some people in Wilton are okay about their kids being old enough to be on the speed dial lists of any local military recruiters, but the same kids can't write and stage a play made up of reflections drawn wholly from the writings of young men and women fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.  They want these kids to STFU.  I'm totally with the kids on this one. 

I bring all this up for a couple of reasons.  First, I want the adults in Wilton who shut down this play to recognize they've just given these kids a much wider audience, as this story takes off in MySpace, Facebook, the New York Times, My Left Nutmeg and now Firedoglake.  Oops.  The local word now is some community activists may be helping the kids stage the play outside of the school.

Second, I figure, sooner or later, some of these kids might find this blog post and check out this site.  To them, I want to say, welcome!  Glad you're here.  We're not here to shut you up.  Quite the opposite.

Stop by our comment section and introduce yourselves.  We talk a lot about politics here and stand up for the voices of the very troops you quote in your play, but we also have a lot of fun and use bad words like fuck

We've been speaking truth to power around here for a while, and we've gotten pretty good at it.  Still, I'm sure there's a lot we can learn from you, so we'd love to hear from you. 

That goes not just for people at Wilton High, but to any teenagers, young adults or college students who are curious about what's going on in this country and who maybe want to do a little something to make things different, even if it just means being informed.  Hell, some of you know as much or more than we do.

I don't expect many of you Wilton High kids will make it here tonight, since I'm sure you're all out having fun doing things your parents approve of.  But anyway, this thread is for the next generation:  come say hello, call us names, ask us what we're about, it doesn't matter.  We're not the crabby adult types who think the world is going to hell and you're leading the way. 

For those of you here tonight who are a little. . . longer in the tooth, please leave some notes of welcome for the next generation, or share some stories of some great young people.  Tell us about some cool, fun, inspiring or admirable young people you've been fortunate enough to know.

UPDATE:  The students have their own web page, with the script.  (h/t to jayackroyd in the comments)

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