Cover of the novel Skud.

I spent a lot of time contemplating the controversy that surrounded my play War. It was banned in a very conservative school district but a group of teachers, parents and students protested so effectively, the ban was ultimately lifted and the theatre troupe was invited back in for performances. I was heartened by this change of events, but it did get me thinking.

I believe that the quagmire the world has found itself in is mostly due to a basic pedagogy that teaches males to be tough and invulnerable. The unspoken (and sometimes all too painfully spoken) rule from the time we’re boys is to suppress feelings, sacrifice intimacy and embrace competition above all else—or else. The play questioned that rule and its themes had a powerful, disturbing resonance—and relevance, for the invasion of Iraq had just begun. But a play for high schools relies on the schools to sponsor it and War was a bit too controversial for most. To this day the play has had as many productions by students as for them.

The stories of Tommy, Brad, Andy and Shane were too important to let go of. So Skud emerged.

Winner, Sheila Egoff Book Prize.


Reviews of Skud