Letter to the Editor

Arts can comfort or discomfort

Monday, November 17, 2008

To the editor:

On Nov. 4, U.S. voters elected Barack Obama to be the first African-American president in our country's history. This victory proves that Americans stand for the rights of the individual. The majority of our citizenry embraced a larger picture of who we are as a country and what we want to be.

Also on Nov. 4, Proposition 8 was passed in California stripping away the rights of loving homosexual couples to enter into legal and binding relationships that would protect their rights as couples and as individuals. In this case, the majority of voters were threatened by a larger and richer picture of the sanctity of marriage, and thousands of people's lives will be the worse for it.

Then the same week, Wendy and Gary Rust published a letter decrying a production of "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All to You" on the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus.

They labeled the production "inappropriate" and asked that these less-conventional productions be left to the confines of the "student labs."


As a theater practitioner and a supporter of the arts, I consider this to be inappropriate in the extreme. What of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Angels in America" set for production next semester? Will the Rusts be left to determine its appropriateness for Southeast Missouri as well? I hope not.

There is no reason to fear a bigger, richer picture and expression of the human experience. Sometimes art comforts, and sometimes it discomforts. That is the nature of the beast.

ELLEN DILLON, Cape Girardeau