Tarzan just got canceled in Westchester.
Administrators at a high school in Elmsford are nixing a student play based on the famed Edgar Rice Burroughs story after two parents complained that the beloved tale is laced with implicit racism and imperialism.
The Alexander Hamilton High School parents were especially worried that the roles of apes in the production might be cast with students of color, superintendent Marc Baiocco said.
“The concerns were over the original storyline behind ‘Tarzan of the Apes,’” Baiocco told lodhud.com, which said auditions were supposed to start Wednesday. “We were doing the Disney version, just to be clear.”
The school’s drama club will instead produce a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and plans to hold auditions Wednesday for the production.
The decision to swap “Tarzan” for “Twelfth Night” was done in part to make sure every action the district takes has equality for all students in mind, Baiocco said.
“Tarzan of the Apes” was first introduced to the public in 1912 by Burroughs, who centered the story on a white man who comes of age in a contentious African world.
Critics in the modern era believe Tarzan’s life in the jungle represents the negative side of colonialism and has no place in a post-colonial world.
On the other hand, “Twelfth Night” is a relatively non-controversial romantic comedy, believed to have been written by the Bard around 1601 or 1602.
The play centers on the story of twins Viola and Sebastian, who lost each other after a devastating shipwreck.
With Post wires