Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Sunday, 15 March 2009

Steve Martin backing banned play

Steve Martin
Steve Martin wrote the play in 1993

Comic actor Steve Martin has stepped in to support a school production of his play that was banned after parents objected to its adult themes.

Students at La Grande High School in Oregon were stopped from staging Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

Martin has offered to help pay for the play to be performed off-campus.

He said he was supporting the production because he did not want his play "acquiring a reputation it does not deserve".

Written in 1993, the play depicts a meeting between a young Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein in a Parisian bar in which they get into a discussions on the superior merits of art or science.

Wrong impression

In a letter to the La Grande Observer, Martin said although there were lines in the play he understood parents may feel uncomfortable letting their children say, the students knew the "questionable behaviour sometimes evident in the play is not endorsed".

He also wrote that, contrary to the protests, the play was not about "people drinking in bars and treating women as sex objects".

"The play has been performed, without incident, all over the world by professional and amateur companies, including many high schools," Martin added.

Rehearsals for the play were stopped after the headteacher received a letter from a parent which contained a petition signed by 137 people against the staging of the play.

Teacher and director Kevin Cahill told La Grande Observer that funds were now being raised to put the play on at the nearby Eastern Oregon University.

Any money left over from Martin's donation will be put towards acting scholarships for students.

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