The Kentucky Cycle

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Date: 2001

Region: North America

Subject: Language

Medium: Theatre


Artist: Robert Schenkkan, Stephanie Richards

Confronting Bodies: Breaks Interstate Park officials

Dates of Action: August 2001

Location: Kentucky, USA

KentuckyCycle.jpg

Description of Artwork: Schenkkan's play, The Kentucky Cycle, is a story about three families, two fueding white families and a black family, that are related through a Cherokee woman. The play covers two centuries in the Appalacian Mountains.

The Incident: The Kentucky Cycle was scheduled to be performed at Breaks Interstate Park in the summer of 2002. It was produced and directed by a graduate student at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Stephanie Richards. Park officials, however, told Richards that she must remove the f-word and "God's name in vain" from the script. Richard's wrote a letter to Schenkkan, asking him for permission to alter the work. The park superintendent, Carl Mullins, said that the park "rules and governs the park." On the other hand the park commission's attorney, Gerald Gray, believed that the park officials cannot censor the production.

Results of Incident: Mullins maintained his position, saying that if Richards does not change the script, the play will not run. Schenkkan granted permission and himself re-wrote the offending words out of the script. The show was performed to an overwhelmingly approving audience during the summer of 2002.

Source: freedomforum.org; http://www.robertschenkkan.com/#/kentucky-cycle-supplementary/4525789613