Typo in press release leads to cancellation of play
‘Death of the N-Word’ to be rescheduled
W.C. REID CENTER, MONDAY — When tickets to an upcoming play presented at the W.C. Reid Center for Creative Arts were not selling in the week before the show, Asheville Parks and Recreation officials were perplexed.
“This play, ‘Death of the N-Word,’ is a fascinating examination of how the linguistic choices of today’s youth can create or destroy the self-dignity of various cultural groups,” said John Faraca, the cultural superintendent for Parks and Recreation. “So when tickets weren’t selling, our first thought was that people were turned off by our use of the phrase ‘NWord,’ which I guess, in terms of our message, is a success. Nonetheless, we didn’t want to take a bath on this production.”
As officials wondered how to salvage the show, protesters and death threats brought their attention to an innocent though misleading typo in their press release that several local newspapers faithfully reprinted.
The error was traced back to Joshua Kerik, a senior at Warren Wilson who is serving as a public relations intern at Parks and Recreation in order to graduate early with a degree in English and a minor in Peace & Justice Studies.
“When Mr. Faraca told me to write a press release for ‘Death of the N-Word,’ I thought he just felt uncomfortable saying the real title of the play to me,” said Kerik. “I’m sorrier than a ‘M-word Fword’ about this whole thing.”
“The fact that our intern himself is African American does not absolve his literal use of the ‘N-word’ in the press release, as ‘Death of the N-Word’ clearly teaches,” said Faraca. “Additionally, the regrettable switching of a key preposition in the title didn’t exactly help matters.”
The mistake has put both the play’s future and Kerik’s bid for a degree in English in question.
The culturally insensitive error has caused too much damage already, say producers, and the play will have to be rescheduled “once the rioting subsides.”
Last week, we reported that Asheville Parks and Recreation will be presenting a new play at the W.C. Reid Center. The title of the play is “Death of the N-Word,” and not, as a press release from Parks and Rec asserted and we faithfully reported, “Death to the [N-word].” Additionally, we reported that the play will be presented Nov. 15-18, when, in fact, it has been cancelled due to slow ticket sales and rioting. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
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