Otte says?’Corpus Christi’ performance canceled because jobs were threatened
The Tarleton State University student whose production of the gay-themed play "Corpus Christi" was canceled last week said the decision was made because "jobs were threatened," not due to security concerns.
Meanwhile, a move is afoot to bring the student cast to Fort Worth to perform the play, followed by a panel discussion on censorship and attacks by the religious right. If that happens, the play would likely be seen by many more people than in the small theater on the Tarleton campus.
The Terrence McNally play has never been performed in the Dallas area.
After several weeks of threats from religious groups, student John Jordan Otte’s professor, Mark Holtorf, canceled a performance of the play last weekend, saying he was concerned about safety.
Liza Benedict, an associate vice president at Tarleton, said since it was a class project, only the professor could cancel the production.
"The professor cited safety and security concerns for the students as well as the need to maintain an orderly academic environment as reasons for canceling the plays," Benedict said. "The performance of these four class plays will not be rescheduled."
Holtorf attended a tech rehearsal on Friday, March 26, a day before the excerpt from "Corpus Christi" was to be performed along with the projects of three other students. Holtorf will grade all four productions based on that rehearsal.
Otte said he’s disappointed that after weeks of rehearsals, there will be no performance. He said his professor was under pressure from the administration. Despite earlier words of support, the school president’s statements immediately prior to the cancellation showed Otte didn’t really have the full backing of school officials, he said.
President F. Dominic Dottavio cited freedom of speech and academic freedom as a reason for allowing the play to go forward. But in an editorial that appeared in The Star-Telegram of Fort Worth, Dottavio slammed the production.