To the Editor:

Subject: UIL one act play competition

Recently I attended the UIL 5A Region I, District 8, Zone 2 One Act Play competition held at Temple High School. Competing were Temple, Ellison, Harker Heights and Killeen High schools.

There were many fine, young people involved and I was so impressed with their performances.

But I question the selection of the play performed by Temple High School.

It was “Never The Sinner,” which was a portrayal of the trial for Richard Loeb and Nathan (Babe) Leopold Jr. These individuals were defended by the renowned lawyer, Clarence Darrow. The trial took place in Chicago in 1924 and is historical in judicial proceedings. Both Loeb and Leopold were homosexuals, hedonistic and had Ubermensch mentalities.

I was appalled as I watched these young people portray homosexual affections and perform murder and remark about tasting the blood of their victim.

This play is meant for actors/actresses of a mature nature, not teenagers!

I was so happy to see the KHS young people perform “Alice in Wonderland.” Hats off to their drama instructor.

Mary Jo Burton


(2) comments


I attended the same competition held at Temple High School, and was fortunate enough to see every competing play. All four schools performed wonderful plays, including Killeen High School's "Alice in Wonderland." As a previous competitor in the UIL One-Act Theatre competition, I understand how much hard work is put into every moment of the 40-minute show. The Temple High School production of "Never the Sinner" provided an amazing depiction of an actual historical event that, as supported by the advancement of the group to the Area competition, was far better than any of the other plays. I believe it is very unfair to say that the play had inappropriate or mature content just because you feel some sort of discomfort when you see two young men kissing onstage, or when you hear talk of murder. I personally wasn't uncomfortable. I actually felt the same amount of awkwardness that I would've felt if a boy and a girl were kissing on stage. Any real fan of theatre knows that the best plays are those that make you feel something, and that is exactly what "Never the Sinner" did for me. I felt the love that the men had for one another, and I learned more about the history of Bobby Frank's death and the men who thought they were so untouchable that could get away with it. I'm sorry you felt "Never the Sinner" was too mature for you, all I can say to you is to just get over it, move on, and do some research before you attend plays that might make you feel uncomfortable. Temple High School's "Never the Sinner" is clearly a work of art, and it's sad that you feel the need to knock the show's merit just because your team did not advance.


If you've never been in a production that was directed by Natasha Tolleson at Temple High School then you have no room to speak of the maturity level(s) of the shows that she chooses to do.
I graduated in 1997 from THS and was a part of over 50 productions either acting, crew or directing and never once did ANY of us think the shows we were performing were too "mature" for us.
Natasha Tolleson is the longest tenured Theatre Arts teacher in the district let alone one of the longest in the state.
THS has 24 consecutive District One-Act Championships, 18 Area Championships, and 4 State appearances. This includes a State Championship in which the main character was a boy dressed as a girl, playing a girl and that actor WON Best Actor at the State Competition. How many of the above mentioned championships does "your" school have?
Next time get ALL of the fact straight before you pass judgement on teenagers (kids) and what you think is appropriate subject matter in which for them to perform.

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