By PHILIP CHANDLER
Wakatipu High school’s taking a politically-correct approach to its next musical.
A student cast and crew of about 90 is staging the popular 1971 musical, Grease, about a high school romance set in ’50s America, next week.
Three months ago, when the box-office-hit film version starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John was screened on BBC One in Britain, Twitter users slammed it as sexist, misogynistic and homophobic.
They also called it out for slut-shaming and a lack of diversity.
Specially singled out were lyrics from Summer Nights: ‘‘Tell me more, tell me more, did she put up a fight?’’, the radio announcer at a dance-off telling dancers there were no same-sex couples, and a character who lies on the floor to look up two female students’ skirts.
Newton-John called the criticism ‘‘kind of silly’’.
‘‘I mean, this movie was made in the 1970s about the 1950s.’’
However, Jake Hansen, a Wakatipu High drama teacher who’s directing Grease, says he, principal Steve Hall and musical director Alison Price discussed the concerns ‘‘early on’’.
‘‘As a result, we have used this as an opportunity to educate our students on these themes and how they are out dated, while preparing the show as historically accurate as possible to provide the distance for our actors.
‘‘Some points of the show have been tweaked if actors felt uncomfortable or unable to disconnect with the content.
‘‘We have also organised trigger warnings and support during the show’s season.
‘‘Student wellbeing was always a top priority throughout this show.’’