Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Racial Switch Halts 'Huck Finn' Production
Yahoo ^ | 5/22/2005 | Associated Press

Posted on 05/22/2005 9:04:39 AM PDT by FreeManWhoCan

GLENELG, Md. - A black Huck Finn and a white Jim might be OK for a high school production of Mark Twain's classic tale — but those performances had to be edited out of a C-Span talent show after the copyright holder objected to the cross-casting. ADVERTISEMENT

Jay Frisby, a black student who played Huck, and Nick Lehan, a white student who played Jim, taped their performance of the song "Muddy Water" for "Close Up," a weekly show that highlights high school excellence.

When the program aired Friday, the two Glenelg Country School seniors were introduced, but viewers were told that "Close Up" could not show their performance because of "copyright restrictions."

Lehan and Frisby had played the roles of Jim and Huck in the school's production of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" without complaint. But when the show's executive producer asked for the right to air the students' performance, permission was denied.

Bert Fink, a spokesman for R&H Theatricals — the Rodgers & Hammerstein organization, which holds the license to the play — said his organization is not against cross-casting in general.

"But when you're dealing with a theatrical work and race or ethnicity is a key factor, many authors or playwrights feel strongly that ethnicity has to be reflected in the actors who portray the characters," he said.

"In the books, Jim is a runaway slave. He is clearly in the novel an African-American man. And Huck is a free white man — that is central to the story. To ignore that component or to comment on it by switching is not faithful to the story."

Frisby's father, Washington attorney Russell Frisby, said he was appalled by the decision.

"The only rationale for it is that someone in New York believes Huck Finn can't be played by an African-American. I thought we were past the days of 'whites only' clauses," the elder Frisby said.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: alangribben; auburnuniversity; huckfinn; huckleberryfinn; marktwain; pages; samclemens; samuelclemens; tomsawyer
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-100101-117 next last
To: Eeper

< What's not to agree with? Jumping on someone and calling them names for innocently mentioning the name of a character in a Twain work seems like a great idea.

I honestly didn't even think twice about it until Mike freaked out. Who knew that the name of a character in a book that most of us (I would assume) read when we were children would be so offensive to mention in a thread revolving around the casting of said character? >




First of all, I don't think it was "innocently" mentioned. Everyone knows we just don't use it anymore unless you WANT to spark a battle.

Secondly, we all know that mentioning it would start something. None of us are innocents here. We all know the fire the word enflames whenever it is used in ANY context.

Personally, I think it's a shame that things are like that but they are. Let's just not hide behind "innocence".


51 posted on 05/22/2005 10:03:15 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

I didn't mean every opinion you had. You take issue your post being pulled. Ask Jim Robinson. BTW, the stormfronters are forever trying to infiltrate FR and have said so plainly more than once, getting to use the n-word in discussions where they might not be so readily detected. Personally, I don't care as nothing suprises me on FR anymore but there are rules on this site.


52 posted on 05/22/2005 10:04:05 AM PDT by cyborg (Serving fresh, hot Anti-opus since 18 April 2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 50 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring
How the heck long does it take for a copyright to expire?

These days it's life of the author plus 70 years, or 100 years depending upon whether or not the work was created by individuals or a corporation "for hire". Got to keep "Steamboat Willie" under copyright forever.

All of Twain's works are public domain now. Most of Mark Twain's works are available for free through Project Gutenberg. I would imagine the copyright issues at question have to do with the play itself, which, if it was written after 1925 or so, would still be under copyright, not the book that it is based upon.

53 posted on 05/22/2005 10:04:16 AM PDT by zeugma (Come to the Dark Side...... We have cookies!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: cyborg

< pudding head >

And we have a winner. Thank you.


54 posted on 05/22/2005 10:04:35 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: GOP_Proud

So I'm part of the neo-Nazi Twain plot now for mentioning the character's name? Christ, people...


55 posted on 05/22/2005 10:04:58 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 51 | View Replies]

To: GOP_Proud

http://www.americanliterature.com/PW/PWD.HTML


56 posted on 05/22/2005 10:05:16 AM PDT by cyborg (Serving fresh, hot Anti-opus since 18 April 2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 54 | View Replies]

To: zeugma

Thanks fer the info.


57 posted on 05/22/2005 10:06:26 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 53 | View Replies]

To: zeugma

An aside:

Where does one go to find out if a specific writing is in public domain?

:)


58 posted on 05/22/2005 10:07:33 AM PDT by bannie (The government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 53 | View Replies]

To: Eeper
you're funny. I like you LOL!!!
No point; you can't even grasp that the character's race is central to the bloody story. You wring your hands about something because you think you should without any critical thought whatsoever. Grow up.

You apparently haven't read a word I have said back to you yet. So after this, I will quit wasting my time with you

Parents often dote on the child that cries the most. I noticed you reported the post once it hurt your precious, sparkly feelings of what Twain characters can and can't be discussed.

So calling him Jim means he isn't a Twain character anymore? Enlighten us idiots O Master!!!

This sentence doesn't even make sense. Perhaps you should try reading literature rather than censoring the barest mention of it.

And neither did your calling me a coward in the first place....

59 posted on 05/22/2005 10:07:41 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Old Professer

LOL


60 posted on 05/22/2005 10:07:52 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

Right. Indeed the "N" word appears on just about every page of the entire novel, which I only got around tor eading about a year ago and I'm 62. It's quite an eye-opener on racial attitudes in the pre-Civil War South and sometihng everybody should read, if only to see how far we've come since then.

There are also some really great character consrasts between Huck, who's essentially a very practical blue collar hick, and his buddy, Tom Sawyer, who has a lot more book larnin, but no where as near as much practical knowledge as Huck. Sufffice it to saw, without revealing too much of the funniest part of the novel, that applying Tom's larnin manages just about to get Huck, Tom, and Jim killed.


61 posted on 05/22/2005 10:07:53 AM PDT by libstripper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: FreeManWhoCan

You cannot change the characters in a play based on skin color and ethnicity and expect it to make any sense. Twain's story is extremely specific to black slave and white boy who befriends black slave (or other way around). I agree that it is absurd to portray it oppositely.

An aside: this is a much smaller issue, but PC was even alive 35+ years ago when I was a kid in the last 60's. We had a production of Cinderella and straws were drawn for parts. A huge ugly girl got the part of Cinderella and I, very petite and pretty, got the role of the prince. I think even my mother complained about it. The girl was about a foot taller than I was and I had long hair and she had short hair. It would have been logical to simply switch roles, but NO! So I had to show up with my hair in a bun and pretend to be this prince to his gargantuan of an ugly ducking girl....
ABSURDITY!


62 posted on 05/22/2005 10:08:01 AM PDT by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

It'll cost you, you cheapskate.


63 posted on 05/22/2005 10:08:08 AM PDT by jjmcgo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

< That's the impression I'm getting, but I'm still frankly amazed. It's just the character's name. No animus is expressed through it; it's just the character's name. >

But that's just it...we ALL know the character's name. It didn't need repeating. It isn't new to anyone.

Animus is implied anytime that word is used by whites for ANY reason. We should all be used to that now. I hate it as much as the next guy, but it's a fact.


64 posted on 05/22/2005 10:08:50 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: cyborg

:)

Thank you. I guess he needs to put that extra word in there for us to figure out who he is talking about. Not that we needed the help or anything :)


65 posted on 05/22/2005 10:09:00 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: Kokojmudd

I am sorry. I do say the other word every now and again, but no where near what I used too....I guess I replaced one with the other...


66 posted on 05/22/2005 10:10:01 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

< So I'm part of the neo-Nazi Twain plot now for mentioning the character's name? Christ, people... >



No, absolutely not. I never even implied that. You are choosing to be extreme.

However, I will point out how offensive your expletive is to me.

See how easy it is to offend?


67 posted on 05/22/2005 10:12:51 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 55 | View Replies]

To: GOP_Proud; MikeinIraq; cyborg

Ok. I give up. Having been outed as a member of the Stormfront Twain Trolling Brigade, I'll go back under my bridge and read my books now. Sorry.

What happened to common sense?


68 posted on 05/22/2005 10:15:09 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 64 | View Replies]

To: Eeper
So I'm part of the neo-Nazi Twain plot now for mentioning the character's name? Christ, people...

Now why did you say that?!?
69 posted on 05/22/2005 10:15:32 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 55 | View Replies]

To: MikeinIraq

No need to apologize. I understand how things can get heated up here at the great FR.....helps energize the old brain!

BTW, I am READY for football to begin!


70 posted on 05/22/2005 10:15:49 AM PDT by Kokojmudd (Today's Liberal is Tomorrow's Prospective Flying Saucer Abductee)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 66 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring

About 70 years. The problem here is that the R&H play based on the novel is a "derivative work" that inovlved a lot of original creative work by the R&H playwrights. Actually, that's the only part that's currently subject to the R&H copyright. However, it's impossible to put on the play without using the copyrighted parts, because they're woven into it just llike fat marblling a roast is woven into the roast. Thus, although the original work is in the public domain and anybody can write and produce a play bassed on it, that same anybody can't legally produce the R&H paly without the R&H permission.


71 posted on 05/22/2005 10:16:31 AM PDT by libstripper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: MikeinIraq
Now why did you say that?!?

It's a common usage of the English language in such a situation...?
72 posted on 05/22/2005 10:16:36 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 69 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

I didn't say that! LOL I never said YOU were in SF. I'm just stating why the moderators may have pulled your post so not to attract trolls. It HAS happened before. Don't take it so personally.


73 posted on 05/22/2005 10:16:46 AM PDT by cyborg (Serving fresh, hot Anti-opus since 18 April 2005)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 68 | View Replies]

To: Conservatrix

< An aside: this is a much smaller issue, but PC was even alive 35+ years ago when I was a kid in the last 60's. We had a production of Cinderella and straws were drawn for parts. A huge ugly girl got the part of Cinderella and I, very petite and pretty, got the role of the prince. I think even my mother complained about it. The girl was about a foot taller than I was and I had long hair and she had short hair. It would have been logical to simply switch roles, but NO! So I had to show up with my hair in a bun and pretend to be this prince to his gargantuan of an ugly ducking girl....
ABSURDITY! >

May I say this for all of us ugly young girls in life...hurrah...we won one.

I'm sorry, that was just so tempting.


74 posted on 05/22/2005 10:16:50 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 62 | View Replies]

To: Eeper
What happened to common sense?

You tell us. You KNOW that word is offensive to some and certainly catches the attention of those willing to use it against Conservatives and the like. You were the one who used it. You know just about everyone reads this book between the ages of 8 and 12. You know that everyone knows who Jim is and what race he is. Why use the word?
75 posted on 05/22/2005 10:16:59 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 68 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

Are you kidding me?

That was MORE offensive than the other bomb you dropped at the beginning of this thread.....


76 posted on 05/22/2005 10:18:04 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 72 | View Replies]

To: GOP_Proud
However, I will point out how offensive your expletive is to me.

See how easy it is to offend?


I'm sorry my religious leanings offend you. I just wanted to express my incredulity at the idea of a white actor playing a black slave. I literally had no idea I'd be painting myself as some sort of untouchable for doing so.
77 posted on 05/22/2005 10:18:20 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 67 | View Replies]

To: libstripper

Tom Saywer is the archetype for the unseen manager, an artist in the field of sociology in the workforce; a delegating fool.


78 posted on 05/22/2005 10:18:33 AM PDT by Old Professer (As darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good; innocence is blind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 61 | View Replies]

To: Kokojmudd

:) me too


it looks as if the Buckeyes will be making some noise this year :)


79 posted on 05/22/2005 10:18:53 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 70 | View Replies]

To: Eeper
Are you kidding me?

That was MORE offensive than the other bomb you dropped at the beginning of this thread...


Please, tell me what deity the FR rules dictate I should call on instead.
80 posted on 05/22/2005 10:19:27 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 77 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

Maybe you are taking this too personally. Interesting discussion though


81 posted on 05/22/2005 10:19:44 AM PDT by Kokojmudd (Today's Liberal is Tomorrow's Prospective Flying Saucer Abductee)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 68 | View Replies]

To: GOP_Proud

The play could become a real farce if all the black actors played whites in whiteface and the whites played balcks in balckface. I just can't quite figure out what kind of a message that would send.


82 posted on 05/22/2005 10:20:01 AM PDT by libstripper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

what part about using the Lord's name in vain DON'T you understand?


83 posted on 05/22/2005 10:20:26 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 80 | View Replies]

To: MikeinIraq
You tell us. You KNOW that word is offensive to some and certainly catches the attention of those willing to use it against Conservatives and the like.

It's the name of the character under discussion. No, I really didn't know I couldn't say it. If I were to refer to someone in such a fashion, which is the pejorative, I could understand your indignation.

You know just about everyone reads this book between the ages of 8 and 12.

So...children read this book, including the character's name, in type...but when discussing the character, I'm supposed to refer to him differently. I get it. I'm abiding by it at this point. I still disagree.
84 posted on 05/22/2005 10:22:31 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 75 | View Replies]

To: Kokojmudd

It's possible. I'm honestly just agog, though.


85 posted on 05/22/2005 10:23:13 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 81 | View Replies]

To: Eeper; FreeManWhoCan; BenLurkin; freebilly
"A black Huck Finn and a white Jim"

I think its a great idea. Adds some interest to an otherwise stale story

The Closeup Foundation is for high school students. I was once in a high school play in which a black student portrayed an Irishman in rural Ireland. He was excellent. The copyright holder (of this derivative play) should lighten up.

One of the greatest, funniest, most poignant stories in American Literature and you think it's stale?

I read it to my son and one thing I noticed about Twain's writing made me feel that this is not a perfect literary work. There were places in the story that are less well crafted, where he seems to be just filling up space with irrelevant material. It is as if he rushed though these parts just to fill some sort of daily quota of words and never came back to polish them.

86 posted on 05/22/2005 10:23:43 AM PDT by wideminded
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: MikeinIraq
what part about using the Lord's name in vain DON'T you understand?

You didn't answer my question. What deity would you prefer I call on in times of frustration if not Jesus Christ?
87 posted on 05/22/2005 10:23:59 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 83 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

< See how easy it is to offend? >

I normally would not have pointed it out. I would have just gone on my merry way, however it's perfect example of how "words mean something" just as we are discussing.


88 posted on 05/22/2005 10:24:21 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 77 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

LOL!!! nice turn around of the phrase there....


89 posted on 05/22/2005 10:25:31 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (Is anyone else ready for football to begin again?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 87 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

< No, I really didn't know I couldn't say it. >

No, you can say it and did. You're just having trouble accepting the baggage that comes with using it.


90 posted on 05/22/2005 10:27:07 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 84 | View Replies]

To: GOP_Proud
You're just having trouble accepting the baggage that comes with using it.

Baggage? Yes, I'm having trouble accepting that I'm some manner of racist because I didn't think twice about mentioning the character's name in a discussion of said character. It's strange. I know it doesn't seem that way to you.
91 posted on 05/22/2005 10:30:03 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 90 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

< You didn't answer my question. What deity would you prefer I call on in times of frustration if not Jesus Christ? >

"Calling on" and "cursing" are two different things. Note the "in vain" part.


92 posted on 05/22/2005 10:30:04 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 87 | View Replies]

To: Old Professer

In this case, a delegating fool who knows not what he's delegating about. Everybody who's on this thread who hasn't read the novel (no insults to those who have) and who's passionately arguing about the "N" word, is really going to be scratching his/her head about what we're discussing. I finally got around to reading the novel because I'd seen one or two movies based on it, had heard all the bitter discussion about it, and just wanted to know what it really was all about.


93 posted on 05/22/2005 10:30:39 AM PDT by libstripper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 78 | View Replies]

To: Eeper

Again, not one person here has called you a racist. You are the one who keeps mentioning that.


94 posted on 05/22/2005 10:31:58 AM PDT by GOP_Proud (...stumbling across Bill Bennett on the radio is like bumping into Socrates at Starbucks.-K.Parker)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 91 | View Replies]

To: GOP_Proud
"Calling on" and "cursing" are two different things. Note the "in vain" part.

This is just getting bizarre. What incantations do I have to use to call on rather than curse the deity in question? You've not the ability to judge whether my cries to said deity are "in vain" or not.

If this is some weird American Protestant interpretation of what "cursing" and "in vain" mean, I'm really not interested. This is getting rather surreal.
95 posted on 05/22/2005 10:33:57 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 92 | View Replies]

To: GOP_Proud
Again, not one person here has called you a racist. You are the one who keeps mentioning that.

So...what's offensive about the word I used, again? You're one of the ones that keeps implying something of the sort.
96 posted on 05/22/2005 10:34:36 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 94 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin
Except for the fact that it MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO DAMN SENSE to have a white Jim and a black Huck, it's a splendid idea.
97 posted on 05/22/2005 10:36:18 AM PDT by Xenalyte (End women's suffrage! Hasn't the country suffered enough?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

Seriously, guys, I give up on this one. That is all.


98 posted on 05/22/2005 10:39:40 AM PDT by Eeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 96 | View Replies]

To: libstripper

Anybody who thinks Twain was making a bleeding heart plea for the improvement in the status of the Negro is misleading himself; Twain was a colloquialist, a narrator of soft-tales from light-hearted and dark, worried places, a student of the strained soul.


99 posted on 05/22/2005 10:50:50 AM PDT by Old Professer (As darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good; innocence is blind.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 93 | View Replies]

To: Eeper
Come on, boys. Can't we stop niggling* over the PC issues and look at the production with some degree of mature objectivity? The book was written in the 19th century and slavery was very real recent history. Whites weren't slaves, they were indentured servants. It would be equally insulting to replace the Black characters in Uncle Tom's Cabin with white actors, undermining the integrity of the story and demeaning the suffering of American Blacks. It would furthermore diminish the respect due to our Black citizens in overcoming and succeeding after such an experience. *Before you go into paroxysms of PC correctness, look the word up.
100 posted on 05/22/2005 10:50:53 AM PDT by ArmyTeach (Pray daily for our troops.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 50 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-100101-117 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson