Ohio High School Kills Play Production Over Gay Content

Tuesday October 26, 2021
Originally published on October 23, 2021

An Ohio high school canceled an upcoming play because it suggested a character was a lesbian, Cincinnati television station WCPO reports.

" 'She Kills Monsters' was canceled Thursday after students said there were complaints about a gay character. The play follows a high school senior as she learns about her late sister's life. Along the way, it is implied her sister is gay." The play uses the game Dungeons & Dragons as a way for the young woman, Agnes, to learn about her late sister Tilly's life. The problem is that Agnes has no idea how to play the game.

Qui Nguyen's dramedy premiered in 2011 off-off Broadway, and has had regional productions in Chicago and Boston.

One student — Christopher Cronan, who is out and bi — said "he was devastated to learn he had spent months learning a new role that would not make the stage — blindsided when he learned of the decision to cancel," continues WCPO.

"It felt like we had just been told, 'Screw off and your lives don't matter,'" Cronan said. "I am openly bisexual in that school and I have faced a lot of homophobia there, but I never expected them to cancel a play for a fictional character."

Ryan Cronin, Christopher's father, attended a school meeting about the play's content. On Thursday the district then informed students Thursday that "She Kills Monsters" would be canceled because it was "deemed inappropriate for K-12."

"They want to say the town is just not ready, but how are you not ready? It's 2021," Ryan Cronan said.

Jeff Lyle, teaching pastor at Good News Gathering. Was said to behind the initial complaint, but told WCPO he did not complain to the board about it. He†said in "an email he never spoke to the school board, who he believes made the decision. Lyle said the play is 'inappropriate for a number of reasons' — pointing to implied sexual activity between the unmarried, innuendo and foul language, but said he is not aware of any role he had in the play's cancellation."

But if the students have their way, "She Kills Monsters" may not be killed. A GoFundMe page has been launched by student Zebadiah Pickering Polstra to produce the play at another venue. It has already reached its $5,000.00 goal.

"While the play is no longer sponsored by the school, we are planning to perform the show in the summertime as a community theatre project with a different venue. Without the show being sponsored by the school, though, we have no funds to produce it, which is why we need your help!" Polstra writes.

"These kids, my siblings included, have poured their heart and soul into this show. We want to see their aspirations realized. With your help, we can produce 'She Kills Monsters'."