The Hillsboro City Schools apologized for a decision to cancel the fall play “She Kills Monsters” after rehearsals had already started, based on the play’s use of inappropriate language, profanity, homophobic slurs, sexual innuendos and graphic violence, superintendent Tim Davis said Monday.
“The district’s decision to cancel the fall play is based on the play being inappropriate for our K-12 audience. This production is recommended for ages 12 and older due to the language and mature content,” Davis said. “As a district, we based our decision on the play’s use of inappropriate language, profanity, homophobic slurs, sexual innuendos and graphic violence. Furthermore, I have not had any contact or communication with Mr. (Jeff) Lyle or any other religious entities concerning the characters in, or the production of, this play. They had zero influence on this decision. This decision was made after the administration read through the script.
“I do apologize to the students for the time already spent on the play,” Davis continued. “Future plays and productions will be read and approved by the administration before we hold any auditions. I would also like to apologize to the entire community for any stress or division this may have caused.”
According to Local 12 News, the cancellation of the play came a week after some parents confronted the play’s directors in a meeting, which also included Lyle, the founder of Hillsboro church Good News Gathering.
Lyle said in an email statement that he attended a meeting at the request of some concerned parents, but he did not have any contact with the school board, according to Local 12.
Lyle also said “from a Biblical worldview this play is inappropriate for a number of reasons, e.g. sexual innuendo, implied sexual activity between unmarried persons, repeated use of foul language including taking the Lord’s name in vain,” according to Local 12.
“She Kills Monsters” was written by Qui Nguyen and premiered in New York in 2011.
Set in Athens, Ohio, it tells the story of a young woman whose 15-year-old sister dies in a car crash.
Attempting to learn more about her dead sister, the woman discovers her Dungeons & Dragons campaign, which alludes to her having a girlfriend and possibly being gay.
It’s become one of the most widely produced plays at the high school and college levels in the last five years.
Davis said the play was supposed to be presented at Hillsboro High School on Nov. 19-21.
Since the play was cancelled, 2019 Hillsboro High School graduate Zebadiah Pickering-Polstra has raised nearly $15,000 to help produce the play, according Ese Esan, a GoFundMe spokesperson.
Students have said they plan hold to play next summer, but Davis said it will not be held at the Hillsboro City Schools.
“Unfortunately, the show has come under attack recently by a sect of our community because the main character’s sister is implied to be gay,” Pickering-Polstra wrote on the GoFundMe, according to Esan. “They got the show canceled because of it, and the hard work of those who were putting the show together has been effectively destroyed.”
With the funds raised on GoFundMe, Pickering-Polstra plans to continue the show this summer as a community theatre project at a different venue.
News of the show’s cancellation has reached social media theatre groups as far as California and Iowa, Esan said.
To view the GoFundMe, visit https://gf.me/v/c/dl8/save-she-kills-monsters-hillsboro.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.