Playwrights Define Censorship

Article excerpt

Before heading to ALA's Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., young-adult author Adam Rapp spent an evening with fellow playwrights Edward Albee, Terrence McNally, and David Henry Hwang discussing censorship. Forty publishers, writers, artists, and supporters of the First Amendment gathered June 23 in the Manhattan apartment of Jane Friedman, former CEO of HarperCollins and current CEO of Open Road Integrated Media, for an informal dialogue with the four playwrights. The event was sponsored by the National Coalition Against Censorship's Free Speech Leadership Council, which Friedman chairs.

The evening's conversation led to some verbal sparring between Albee and McNally on the definition of censorship. Albee, the author of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Zoo Story, both of which have been censored, accused Broadway producers of being interested only in making money instead of caring about the quality of the plays they finance.

McNally, who has won Tony Awards for his plays Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion! disagreed that economic decisions are censorship, asserting that censorship is when a story cannot be told in any public forum due to pressure from special interest groups. The Catholic League condemned his play Corpus Christi, he noted, and its performance was canceled this year at Tarleton State University near Fort Worth, Texas. …