Local Youth Play Shows 'Huck Finn' Uncensored

Mark Twain's Famous Novel Included Use Of 'N' Word, 'Injun'

A local youth theatre group is putting on a production of famous Broadway musical "Big River - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," completely unedited.

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"It's important to use that history is told the way it is, and that it's not altered in history books," said Francis Henderson, whose daughter plays a slave in the show.

The musical, based on Mark Twain's famous literary work, opened at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego about 100 years ago and went on to win seven Tony awards.

The California Youth Conservatory in Rolando, a mix of professional actors and "rising young stars," is producing the musical with all the original language intact, including use of the "N" word for African-Americans and "Injun" in describing Native Americans.

According to CYC theater owner Shaun Evans, it is better to be true to history than strive too much to be politically correct.

"To try to make nice with it for fear of offending someone seems counter-intuitive -- given the fact that it's history," he said.

Throughout the years, some of the offensive language has been removed from books and school productions across the country. Several local schools and their teachers were invited to view the play during daytime hours, but some of the schools chose not to attend.

"It bothers me that we are pretending that this never happened," Reed Lievers, who plays Huckleberry Finn in the production, said. "It's like saying 9/11 was an earthquake."

"As long as we are honest about where we have come from, our students are in a better foundation to deal with life and the problems that they're going to face going into adulthood," Evans said.

CYC's production of "Big River - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" opens March 3 at the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center Performing Arts Theatre in San Diego.

The price of admission ranges from $22 to $32.

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