A stage performance of an Agatha Christie novel canceled at high school because of its “racially offensive” title will be staged but with some changes.
The play will be performed next month with additional materials, conversations and other activities "to honor diversity in the community," said Superintendent Mike Taylor of the Lakota Public Schools District in suburban Cincinnati .
The play, which the school had billed as "Ten Little Indians," will now be performed under the title, "And Then There Were None" - the officially licensed name of the play. Taylor said the title change comes after the school's drama department found that it had an earlier version of the play.
The novel and a play adaptation were originally published in 1939 in England under a title that included a racial slur - "Ten Little Niggers." The play has been produced in the United States under the titles "Ten Little Indians" and "And Then There Were None."
In the play, strangers are trapped on an island with a murderer who kills them one by one. The characters are killed by methods resembling those in a nursery rhyme that has appeared at times under both the "Indians" title and the title containing the slur.
Taylor said the school had canceled the play when school officials learned of the history of the play's title and found that it had a negative impact on members of the community, the staff and students.
Gary Hines, a branch president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in southwest Ohio, said the original title was a racial slur toward blacks and included a cover illustration of a black person and a hangman's noose, and that some parents had called him with their concerns.
Hines would not comment Thursday on whether his group would oppose the play as it is now planned.
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