OT: Our Town | Chicago Reader

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Scott Hamilton Kennedy's 2002 video documentary follows a handful of student actors at Dominguez High School in Compton, California, as they try to mount a production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, the first play performed at the school in over 20 years. Kennedy was dating the kids' beautiful drama teacher at the time, and his video dutifully echoes her stubborn conviction that, even in crime-scarred Compton, Wilder's homespun take on the themes of family, love, and death is relevant. I'm not sure I buy it—when the performance finally arrives, the kids seem to goof on the text as much as they honor it—but anyone who's been in a school play will identify with their gathering panic and self-doubt as opening night approaches, as well as their pride, exhilaration, and solidarity after it's all over. 76 min.

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