A North Carolina high school has canceled its production of Almost, Maine, one of the most regularly produced plays in American high schools. Students claim that parents and local churches had complained to the school that the play featured a same-sex couple among its many characters, WSOC reports.
Students at Maiden High School in Maiden, N.C., had already begun rehearsing John Cariani's romantic comedy, a series of surreal and whimsical vignettes about the residents of a mythical town in northern Maine. In a scene titled "They Fell," which includes neither physical contact nor graphic language, two weak-kneed male buddies repeatedly fall to the ground as they fall in love with each other.
"Our faculty and staff are still in review of potential performances to be conducted by our students this fall," wrote Rob Bliss, the school's principal, in a statement. "At this time, no final decision has been made regarding whether and what drama performances are to be presented this fall. In regards to the request for students to perform the play Almost, Maine, careful review and consideration was given to the contents of this play. The play contained sexually-explicit overtones and multiple sexual innuendos that are not aligned with our mission and educational objectives. As principal of Maiden High School, I have an obligation to ensure that all material, including drama performances is appropriate and educationally sound for students of all ages."
Students at Maiden High School have created an online petition in an effort to change the principal's decision, which came shortly after a federal judge struck down North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage.
Maiden made headlines in 2012 as the home of Pastor Charles Worley, who told his congregation at Providence Road Baptist Church that "queers" should be rounded up and left to die in concentration camps.
Following a similar controversy, a Baltimore high school eventually reversed their decision to cut "They Fell" from a production of Almost, Maine in 2011 after receiving criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.
Almost, Maine premiered in 2004 and opened off-Broadway in 2006. Transport Group staged an acclaimed off-Broadway revival earlier this year.
Many videos of high school students performing "They Fell" can be found on YouTube.