BY LINDA BENTLEY | OCTOBER 9, 2013
CSHS drama teacher suspended
The play is chock full of graphic, sexually explicit language and material that centers on bestiality, pedophilia, incest and child rape
CCUSD93 – Cactus Shadows High School Drama teacher Andrew Cupo was suspended with pay on Monday while outraged parents are seeking answers from the Cave Creek Unified School District regarding the choice of material his sophomore students were required to perform.
While playwright Edward Albee has been acclaimed for his works such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf” and “Zoo Story,” parents don’t believe his play, “The Goat, or, Who is Sylvia?” which received a Pulitzer and 2002 Tony Award for best play, is appropriate material for 15-year-olds to perform.
The play premiered on Broadway in March 2002 and ran for 309 performances.
The story is about a once happily married man named Martin, a 50-year-old architect, whose life crumbles after he reveals to his long-time friend Ross that he is obsessively and physically in love with a goat he met in the country named Sylvia.
It ends with the goat’s throat being slit.
The play is chock full of graphic, sexually explicit language and material that centers on bestiality, pedophilia, incest and child rape.
The language is far too inappropriate to be repeated in a community newspaper.
Cupo, a former CSHS graduate himself (2005) and who took over the reins of the drama-theater program upon Linda Garvin’s retirement in 2010, was suspended before the graded performance set for this Thursday could take place.
According to parents of students in his class, Cupo selected the play and made it a mandatory performance assignment with no other optional play for students to choose.
Parents were unaware of the material chosen by Cupo until a student rehearsing a lead character’s lines was feeling extremely uncomfortable with the subject and language and went to his parent for help.
In 2009, Encore Michigan, a web-based publication focused on Michigan’s professional theater industry, in its announcement for auditions for “The Goat” said, “This unsettling play is a hilarious, unsettling piece dealing with the nature of love that smashes conventions in a way that only Albee would dare to. Even though it won the Tony for best play, it is too racy for any union theater in Michigan to touch it.”
Scottsdale police are investigating the case to determine if criminal charges will be filed against Cupo.
A couple of parents spoke during the school board meeting Tuesday night to let the district know the material was inappropriate for high school students and demand answers from district officials, while numerous students spoke in support of Cupo.