New York college censors production of Holly Hughes play

by on April 27, 2009  •  In Culture

A senior at the College of Staten Island, who was recognized as an outstanding undergraduate director with an invitation to produce a play of his choice at a college festival, was stopped by the administration from producing a play by Holly Hughes, The Well of Horniness. Although the college has now backed down, the timing of their latest position will effectively prevent the play from being part of the festival.  Has freedom of expression not made it to Staten Island?

The following is from Holly:

A senior student at the College of Staten Island, Robert Mahoney, was
invited by the Associate Provost Susan Holak to direct a play as part
of his senior project for The Undergraduate Conference on Research,
Scholarship and Performance – and it was set to be performed on April
30 from 1:30-4 pm event.  Last year, Mahoney directed a Caryl Churchill
play.  Inclusion in the conference is a huge honor for undergraduates.

conference website

Last week, the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities Francisco
Soto called a special meeting to discuss the presentation of The Well
of Horniness. Dean Soto told the student and a couple of faculty
members that since Conference was to be used for recruiting, the play
could not be presented because because it might offend Catholics.
(Ironically, Soto's own work is on the censorship of gay writer Reinaldo

The Conference also includes an area where posters are presented about
student projects and research (as well as some live  performances), the
Dean offered to have the play would be via a poster board.  A couple of
days later the administration told the  student that the title of the
play could not be included on either the  poster or the program.

CUNY Governance & Policies

Today, after a phone call from NY Times reporter, jim dwyer, the
administration told the student he could put the play in the conference,
but that would essentially mean doing it earlier, which is impossible at
this point in the production.  He was also told that he could include a
display in the conference, but has no time to pull this together at the
last moment.


2 Responses to New York college censors production of Holly Hughes play

  1. tucker farley April 28, 2009 at 9:56 AM

    ironic and outrageous

  2. JN April 28, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    Two quick corrections to this ridiculously over the top reaction from the College of Staten Island administration: Mahoney previously directed “Bang Bang” by William Mastrosimone. He had acted in the Caryl Churchill production. Also, a segment of the play was to be presented, not the entire play, which makes the censorship seem just that much more ridiculous.

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