Thursday, June 14, 2007
It began as a project in Bonnie Dickinson’s advanced drama class at Wilton High School, with students and teacher working together to create a play about the Iraq war. The show was largely a series of monologues, telling the stories of actual soldiers in their own words, drawn from blogs, documentaries and a book of interviews.
But in March, the school’s principal, Timothy H. Canty, canceled the production, citing concerns about balance and sourcing and fear that it would disturb local military families. After an article about the ban appeared in The New York Times, “the whole New York theater community called,” Ms. Dickinson said.
Last weekend, the 16 student actors, plus a stage manager; a makeup artist; a sound technician; two adult musicians; a dramaturge, Willie Holtzman; and Ms. Dickinson traveled by train and carpools from Fairfield County to New York for two performances, Saturday at the Vineyard Theater and Sunday at the Culture Project.
The final show — “the big one,” as the students refer to it — at the Public Theater sold out in one day; there is a waiting list.
The students have appeared on the network morning news programs, on CNN and on National Public Radio. They have received awards and support from theater organizations like the Dramatists Guild of America and boldface names like Edward Albee. A Russian TV crew trailed them at the Vineyard on Saturday. As part of a PBS series with the documentarian Morgan Spurlock, the actor and director Stanley Tucci has been filming and interviewing them.
Pretty heady stuff for a cast of teenagers who might be expected to be more focused on summer vacation than on foreign policy. But that, they say, is exactly the attitude they are trying to combat.
This from the New York Times.