The Show Will Go On for 'Ten Little Indians' at Ohio High School

A high school that canceled its student theater production of "Ten Little Indians" reversed its decision Thursday to allow the show to go on despite complaints about a racial slur in the original title of the Agatha Christie novel.

The best-selling murder mystery originally was named "Ten Little N—-ers" when it was published in England in 1939. It was never published under that name in the United States.

Lakota Superintendent Mike Taylor apologized, announcing plans to make some changes to the play to honor diversity in the southwestern Ohio community.

"We need to move forward," Taylor said in a statement. "I believe the best way forward is to allow the performance of the play to occur while using it as a learning vehicle."

A group of students and community members will decide what needs to be added to the performance.

The name of the book was changed for production in the United States, and the school was using the name "Ten Little Indians" for the play's title. The book also has been renamed in some productions as "And Then There Were None," which is the closing line of the nursery rhyme with the novel's name.

It follows the mystery novel's storyline about 10 strangers invited as weekend guests to a private island. The guests share mistakes in their pasts that led to the death of an innocent person. Each guest has evaded punishment, but not for long.

The play will be performed Dec. 13 and 14 at Lakota East High School in Liberty Township, Ohio.

The school was using an out-of-print, older version of the play titled "Ten Little Indians." The title of next week's play will be "And Then There Were None."

Taylor said the district canceled the play after a NAACP leader brought forward concerns about the history of the play.

"The original decision to cancel the play was made out of respect for these valuable members of our schools and community," Taylor said in a statement. "We believed that performing the play could damage these important relationships."

Gary Hines, president of the Hamilton/Fairfield/Westchester branch of the NAACP, complained to school administrators about the production after a parent voiced concerns to him.

Hines, who has a child in the school district, said the play's historical context and original title were insensitive, and he said the school showed a lack of diversity in choosing it. He said Christie had "racist ideas" and presented a tale of genocide in the novel.

The superintendent thanked Hines in his announcement about the return of the play.

"We appreciate Gary Hines, the leader of our local NAACP bringing this to our attention," Taylor said.