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OT: Our Town (2002)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 245 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 8 user | 22 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

Dominguez High, in the infamous Compton, CA, has not produced a play in over twenty years. With no money and no stage, two teachers and twenty-four students attempt to produce Thornton Wilder's American Classic OUR TOWN.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Catherine Borek ...
Teacher and Director of the Play
Karen Greene ...
Teacher and Director of the Play
Ebony Starr Norwood-Brown ...
Herself / The Stage Manager
Archie Posada ...
Himself / George Gibbs
Armia Robinson ...
Herself / Emily Webb
Jackie Oliver ...
Herself / Mrs. Soames
Christopher Patterson ...
Himself / Mr. Webb
...
Himself / Simon Stimson
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Storyline

The Dominquez High School in Comptom, California--with an explosive culture of black and hispanic youths and dismal outlook of school life--has not produced a play in 20 years. They have nothing in the way of a theater program, nor a budget of any sort. This documentary chronicles the month and a half before the opening night play performance of their version of Our Town. Written by Sujit R. Varma

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A famous American play, in an infamous American town. See more »

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Documentary

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14 January 2003 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original play "Our Town" opened at Henry Miller's Theater in New York City on 4 February 1938 and had 338 performances. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 2004 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Tharoman I
Threnody Ensemble
Courtesy of New Albion Records, 2000
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User Reviews

 
Fascinating characters and story, although generic film-making
28 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An interesting documentary that looks at two teachers' attempts to put on a theatrical drama in the context of some of America's most notorious urban poverty, OT: Our Town has a lot of fascinating characters and story, although pretty generic film-making. It's a documentary so it's hard to complain, but in terms of setting up character development, other films (Spellbound, for example) have done better. Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy apparently met Catherine Borok, an English teacher at Compton's Dominguez High School, and fell for her — she's both sexy and smart and committed — and only then decided to make a film about her efforts to direct Thornton Wilder's Our Town as the school's first dramatic presentation in twenty years. As a result, he missed a lot of back story and tries to catch up. The actors in the drama are fascinating - many of them are the school's most dynamic and motivated students, but even they have suffered tremendously from urban poverty, violence, and broken families. Ebony Starr Norwood-Brown, the stage manager in the play, is tremendously charismatic; Archie Posada is a natural comedian. Borok struggles to motivate and direct them all, and by the end of the documentary has successfully held the first dramatic presentation in two decades. In the meantime the director gets in a lot of digs at high school sports, and some funny/sad Waiting for Guffman-like amateur theatre bits.

The DVD adds a lot of value with followup interviews of the students, teachers, etc. The high school has now held sold-out annual plays for the past three years, and many of the actors in the production of Our Town have become highly successful in college or elsewhere. The success of the OT documentary brought Hal Holbrook — the Stage Manager of a 1960-era TV production of Our Town — to meet with many of the students, which is a nice scene in the bonus footage.


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