Rubicon Theatre Teams with Ventura Film Society to Screen OT: OUR TOWN Doc, 3/4
Rubicon Theatre Company of Ventura partners with Downtown Ventura Partners improvement district and the Ventura Film Society to present a one-night-only screening of the award-winning documentary "OT: OUR TOWN," playing at the Century 10 Downtown Theatre, 555 E. Main Street, in the Downtown Cultural District on March 4, 2013 at 6 pm.
The screening takes place on the eve of Rubicon's landmark production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, which begins previews on March 6, officially opening on March 9 and running through March 31. Rubicon's production not only celebrates the 75th Anniversary of Our Town's Broadway premiere, but also commemorates the theatre's 15th Anniversary Season and its new community initiative Our Town/Your Theatre. The goal of the initiative is to connect more deeply with existing audiences and to reach new theatre-goers. Says Rubicon Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns, "The 'OT: Our Town' film offers incredible insights into the universality of Thornton Wilder's themes and the relevance of those ideas to modern young audiences."
Originally released in 2002, "OT: Our Town" takes us into the classrooms of Dominguez High in Compton, California - a school that hasn't produced a play in over twenty years. Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy catches on camera the journey two teachers and twenty-four students take leading up to their performance of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic Our Town. With no money and no stage, the cast initially struggles to overcome both personal trials and perceived difficulties related to a story set 100 years ago. But soon the students rise to the challenge and create a moving, unique version of this famous play for their infamous town.
The film was accepted into several prestigious festivals, included the Toronto International Film Festival and the Tribeca International Film Festival. Its critical acclaim extended to many festival awards, including Audience Awards at Aspen Filmfest and Palm Springs International Film Festival, Best Documentary at Los Angeles IFP/West Film Festival and a nomination of Best Documentary at the 2004 Independent Spirit Awards.
When Rubicon's Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns learned about "OT: Our Town" through Lorenzo DeStefano of the Ventura Film Society, she was struck by the enormous impact Wilder's classic play had on the students and the community in Compton. "Putting on Our Town created such a strong bond between the students, and the play became an outlet for them to reconnect with their families and the community," Burns said. "Fostering that kind of connection with the community is exactly what we hope to achieve with our production of Our Town."
DeStefano worked with the film company to secure the print of the film and arranged for filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy (who also received an Academy Award nomination for his film "The Garden") to participate in a panel discussion after the 70-minute screening with several of the actors from Rubicon Theatre Company's production of Our Town and director Jenny Sullivan. A Q & A will be facilitated by producer Steve Binder.
Kevin Clerici of the Downtown Ventura Partners improvement district worked to interface between the City of Ventura and Cinemark to arrange for use of the large theatre for the screening.
Says Burns, "We are excited about this first-time collaboration between our three organizations and the City of Ventura and look forward to finding other ways to share resources and ideas in the future."
Burns and husband James O'Neil (Rubicon's Artistic Director - who also plays the character of the Stage Manager in Our Town) chose Our Town as the centerpiece of Rubicon's 15th Anniversary Season, a natural fit for a season dedicated to reaching out and reconnecting with the Ventura community.
Says O'Neil, "Wilder's passionate and poetic play has grown over time to be one of the most produced shows in America, in large part because of its ability to reveal the deepest and most complex bonds within a community through the clearest and most simple language."
Tickets for the screening are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for students.
By screening "OT: Our Town" before the first preview performance of Rubicon's Our Town and offering low-priced student tickets to the screening and the show, the collaborating groups hope Ventura's students and audience members will see Our Town not as an outdated or old-fashioned play about people they won't relate to, but will recognize that Our Town is about 21st Century Ventura, just as it was about Compton for the students who created the production in the documentary.
"OT: Our Town," an award-winning documentary film by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, will be screened at 6 pm on March 4, 2013 at the Century 10 Downtown Theatre, located at 555 E. Main Street in Ventura, 93001. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker and with the director and cast members from Rubicon Theatre's production of Our Town. Tickets are $10 for general admission, senior (65+) tickets are $7, and student (with valid ID) tickets are $5. Due to limited seating, all tickets must be purchased in advance through the Rubicon Theatre Company BOX OFFICE, located at 1006 E. Main Street (Laurel entrance), by phone at (805) 667-2900, or online at www.rubicontheatre.org.
Tickets will also be available at the Ventura Film Society's February 19th and March 5th 7:15 pm screenings, 420 E. Santa Clara St. (@ Oak) in Downtown Ventura., and online at www.venturafilmsociety.com/tickets.html.