OT:OUR TOWN. A Famous American Play in an Infamous American Town
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Against all odds, the first theatrical production in over 20 years at Dominguez High School is going to be Thornton Wilder s American classic "Our Town." The kids at this Compton school are about to experience more than a culture clash, as they embark on a rich journey and discover the educational and social value of theater. OT: Our Town tells the story of human spirit and its strength against the clichés attempting to hold it down. Where Wilder wrote about little Grover s Corners, this documentary exemplifies how Our Town is every town, Our Town is Compton.
Nominated - Best Documentary - Independent Spirit Awards
Winner - Audience Award - Palm Springs Int'l Film Festival
Winner - Audience Award - Aspen Film Festival
Winner - Best Documentary - Heartland Film Festival
Winner - Best Documentary - Los Angeles Film Festival
Winner - Best Documentary - New York Int'l Latino Film Festival
Winner - Best Documentary - Orinda Film Festival
Winner - Best Documentary - Santa Monica Film Festival ---
Top Customer Reviews
I won't tell you how the play turns out -- I was concerned myself the closer they got to opening day and couldn't imagine what it was like for the teachers.
I wish movies like this were more widely distributed. For one thing, getting to know the student actors in this movie helped you see the real diversity in Compton -- how different but real each student was, how in some ways the stereotype was true (violence is a big problem in Compton and the students aren't self-disciplined and bring quite a lot of baggage to class) and yet they have potential, talent, and their own stories to tell.
I highly recommend this movie.
We get to see some the home life of the teens, but most of the film centers on their preparation for the play, and their enthusiasm for the project grows as the performance date draws near. The film ends with portions of the performance, and it is funny, touching, and wonderful to see the kids doing so well, in a play that one would think would be hard to transpose to present day Southern California. As a reference, clips from the 1977 television production starring Hal Holbrook and Robby Benson are used, during the preparatory footage.
Scott Hamilton Kennedy directed this documentary, and the students, though not famous yet, deserve mention. It stars Ebony Norwood-Brown as The Stage Manager, Archie Posada as George Gibbs, Armia Robinson as Emily Webb, and others in the cast include Jackie Oliver, Christopher Patterson, and José Perez. One hopes that having succeeded in this challenge, these students will continue to excel in more plays, and other areas of their lives. This was the first play presented by the Dominguez High School in 21 years, and Ms. Borek should be lauded for her courage and vision. Perhaps with this documentary as inspiration, more inner city schools will attempt to do this marvelous play, which is the most performed play in American theater history, and now has been proved to adapt well to its surroundings. Total running time is 76 minutes.