Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010: "Ot: Our Town"

"OT: Our Town" is an indie documentary about a high school in Compton that puts on a production of Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town." Given that the play was first produced in 1938, there are a lot of cultural differences between the characters in the play and the teenagers who will be inhabiting those roles, and since this is the first play the school has tried to produce in over 20 years, the odds are against the production from the start. This is the kind of drama I love to see in a movie (plus, helloi, theatre geek here) so I loved every minute of this documentary.

The students at Dominguez high school face a kind of dilemma. Like a lot of high schools, sports is the most important focus the school has (students get drafted to teams right out of high school) so for those kids with strong personalities who don't happen to play sports, they don't really have much of an outlet. Having a drama department gives them that outlet, and learning this play is something that they all say they needed in their lives. It's moving to see these modern day kids learning to relate to these characters from a 1938 farm town called Grover's Corners. They spend a lot of time telling us about their lives and how they can relate to the play's universal themes of love and loss and learning to live life to the fullest every minute.

When I was in college in one of my theater classes, I read a monologue from Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" (it was on September 12, 2001 and as you can imagine, the tragedy at the World Trade Center was heavy on everyone's mind) and I still remember holding back tears while I went through my monologue (my professor said "Ok, now we need something lighter...something funny to follow THAT" after I'd finished) and it struck me then how a play written so many years ago can still affect our emotions today. that is good writing, my friends, and this documentary showcases how the great writing evident in this play can still bring people together and help them focus on what's really important in their lives. I loved this movie, and if you're a theatre geek like me (or even if you just like the play "Our Town" or want to learn more about it) you should check it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment