MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — A play that includes characters wearing KKK robes was canceled at a high school in Minneapolis after a huge amount of backlash. Administrators said they had no choice but to pull the plug on the play.
There will be no performance in the auditorium at New Prague High School after a photo was posted to social media.
“Is it disappointing? Yes. I’m disappointed for the kids that invested so much time in the play and performing,” Lonnie Seifert, principal said.
Seifert said it was a tough decision to cancel the school’s spring play, “The Foreigner.” It has been performed at schools across the country. The story is a comedy, and portrays the KKK as antagonists.
“It’s got a good message — a message of inclusiveness and acceptance of all, but unfortunately, I believe what happened with the social media, the message is now lost,” Seifert said.
The picture, taken during rehearsal, includes a caption reading: “I think you’re gonna wanna come to the spring play.”
“I really truly don’t believe there was ill intent on the part of the person that posted it,” Seifert said.
But the damage was done. Students and parents offended by the post and play met with Seifert and the play’s director.
“And I’m disappointed some of our students had to go through the feelings that they went through seeing that post also,” Seifert said.
That’s why the seats would stay empty in the auditorium, and the show would not go on.
“I think we need to make decisions with all students in mind, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Seifert said.
Seifert said students had been rehearsing for more than a month. The play’s director said he takes full responsibility for not better communicating the play’s message with the student body when it was chosen.