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Home / Articles / Editorial / Letters /  It’s wrong to perform bloody ‘Sweeney Todd’ in light of recent current events
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Wednesday, June 6,2012

It’s wrong to perform bloody ‘Sweeney Todd’ in light of recent current events

To the Editor:

In light of the disturbing details in the news this week of cannibalism in Miami, Fla., Canada and Joppatowne, Md., the Ohio University production of "Sweeney Todd" that took place at Athens Middle School seems horribly inappropriate and grotesque. A dark "comedy" of murder, mutilation and cannibalism coupled with greed, hopelessness and blood lust, hardly help our community come to terms with the problems and decisions our nation is facing.

Somehow, I don't see anything funny about the horrendous tragedies that occurred these past few weeks in the lives of the victims and perpetrators of real-life cannibalism. As an alumnus of OU, I was grieved and disturbed by the complete lack of consideration shown for the value of life in performing this play. What kind of world is Ohio University inspiring today? Are we sinking so low that we see murder and cannibalism as funny? It is true that the students of today are tomorrow's leaders. Will some of our future leaders slit our throats and grind us up? After all, it's funny, isn't it?

As I walk through downtown Athens, I can't help but see the words engraved on the gateway to Ohio University's upper campus. Facing campus, the gateway reads: "So enter that daily thou mayest grow in knowledge, wisdom, and love." Exiting the gateway, the student reads: "So depart that daily thou mayest better serve thy fellowmen, thy country and thy God." Further, a marker located next to the gateway quotes the Ohio Ordinance of 1787, Article III which states: "Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, school and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

Memorials are reminders. As we've turned our backs on God — mocking Him, despising Him — many are becoming animalistic, barbaric and grotesque. Jesus has provided the way of salvation through the blood He shed for our sins. Hardly vengeful and vindictive, Jesus selflessly provided our ransom because of His love for us. I am so glad He values our lives so highly, that He died to remove our wretched sin from us. His grace abounds today.

I hope Ohio University students will repent of sin and trust in Jesus' love and grace, so they will be knowledgeable, wise and loving leaders in the future. In this dark hour, we certainly need them.

Connie Gilkey


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Give me a break. I was in this show and can honestly say I don't go home thinking about how "funny" it is to slit people's throats and cannablize. It's just a SHOW, written for entertainment and that's exactly what we did, entertain. Not condone other people'sI am a Christian, and I think I remain pretty with it when all is said and done disgusting behavior. That is their problem, not ours. 



The show was chosen, casted, etc. way before any of these cannibal incidents occurred. Not everyone prays to Jesus, so leave your religion out of it. People put on musicals to entertain and that's it. If you don't like what the show is about, that's your problem and you should keep it to yourself.



I'm an acquaintance of one of the performers, and I can honestly say that they've been preparing to perform Sweeney Todd long before these instances of cannibilism appeared. A lot of work went into rehearsing for this performance, and it's needlessly cavalier to write off the acting troupe as a bunch of kids mocking a recent tragedy.

Furthermore, while Sweeney Todd definitely has a handful of comedic moments, it is DEFINITELY not a comedy; most of the principal characters either die or go crazy at the end, which is the very hallmark of Greek tragedy. What's so funny about that?



Wow, I don't think I have any words to say that will sufficiently explain how off your rocker I think you are.  Sweeney Todd is art.  Should we ban Sweeney Todd now that people are eating each other?  Just think about what I just said.  We have BIGGER problems than performing a musical that is FICTION.  I'm guessing that man who tried eating another man didn't do it  because he saw Johnny Depp slitting throats on the big screen.  He probably did it because he was homeless and desperate.  You're taking a rather unavoidable coincidence and blowing it to high heaven.



You do realize that your comments here are completely rediculous. To say that doing a CLASSIC musical from Sondheim is wrong simply because of a current event is petty. Researching this topic would have been a great option for you seeing how Ohio University did not even put this show on but a student run organization did. That organization had planned on doing Sweeney Todd for a long time and we started working on it well before a few people took some drugs and ate another person. The story of Sweeney Todd has been around for a long time and the musical has been around since the late 70s. The musical is also NOT a comedy, so all of this "we think it's funny" nonsense is not needed. You are obviously just trying to make a big deal out of something that is not. I personally feel attacked by your statements as well. I worked quite hard on this production and so did many other people.