'Falsettos' Petition to Proceed to Town Meeting
Petitioner Kay hears comments at FinCom hearing.
Lee Ann Kay, author of Petition Article 31, has no plans to alter her Town Meeting presentation following citizen’s comments at Wednesday’s Finance Committee Public Hearing.
At a few minutes past 8 p.m., she reviewed her article and read a letter to Superintendent of Schools Diana Rigby from the Rabbinical Alliance of America objecting to a 2009 CCHS production of "Falsettos." The article, like the letter, asks the town to condemn the play as anti-Semitic. Ms. Kay’s presentation to Town Meeting will be “essentially the same” as one posted on YouTube late last month, entitled Depraved, anti-Semitic play at Concord-Carlisle High School. The video had been removed as of Thursday afternoon.
Town Clerk, Anita Tekle estimated the crowd at around 100 who heard budget presentations by the Concord Public Schools, Concord-Carlisle Regional High School and Minuteman Career and Technical High School prior to Kay’s presentation.
Queries from the Finance Committee focused on precedents: whether other Town Meetings in Massachusetts had ever addressed similar articles, or if articles regarding “public expression of the arts” had been passed at other Town Meetings.
“I am not aware of what other towns are doing. I’m concerned about Concord,” said Kay.
Comments from several citizens involved the use of footage from Falsettos, in which allegedly under-aged students appeared without parental permission. Mike Krupa, Wright Farm Road, said “I hope as a neighbor, you would honor the requests of parents to exclude (footage) of their children.” The footage, Kay said, was acquired from CCTV, which taped the entire production. She did not attend the play.
Ms. Kay said that the U.S. Copyright Office doctrine of fair use allows her to use the footage because the clips represent only a small portion of the whole production.
Joseph Levine, who identified himself as a past member of the Kerem Shalom board questioned whether the Rabbinical Alliance of America was “reflective of mainstream Judaism” and suggested that it was not.
David Stephens questioned why the article was being presented at this FinCom hearing, noting that a pro-school audience would be in attendance. He said he “strenuously objects to paying for the perverting of youth.”
Kay met with Superintendent Rigby in December 2009 prior to the production, asking her to stop the show. In November 2010, Kay sent a copy of the Rabbinical Alliance’s letter, and a disk of the production to the School Committee with a request to discuss it at its Nov. 23 meeting.
Current Concord-Carlisle School Committee Chairman, Louis Salemy said, “we listened during citizens comments, but said we wouldn’t talk about individual teachers in public,” referring to Math teacher, Peter Atlas, who produced Falsettos at the high school. Kay said “we asked to discuss how Falsettos complies with Massachusetts General Laws. We were dismissed at that time.”
“It’s kind of a shame that (with this play) people are exposed to promiscuity or defamation of Jews,” said Kay. “Twenty years ago people might be outraged. I want people to decide whether they think about a play like this put on at taxpayer expense.”
Salemy noted that CCHS was unlike other schools. “It’s a different environment because of tolerance and that starts at the top. What she (Kay) is suggesting is not tolerance.”