OBF Project Page – Our Friendly Town

This is the first draft for the Our Friendly Town project

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I’m really doing this. I want you to be part of it. There will be casts and directors and funding. We’ll develop scripts through improvisation, centered in people’s real experience of life in Peekskill – in all its reality.

The production is intended to express the true experiences of four different tribes of Peekskills: African Americans, Hispanics, newer White residents, and long-time White Peekskillians. And to bring them together in a multi-cultural finale.

I’m producing an evening of scenes, called Our Friendly Town. Our Town was written in 1938 and set in Grover’s Corners, a fictional town in New Hampshire. There’s something essential to the American experience in the play, something aspirational. And it’s significantly different from the American experience of a great many people. And Grover’s Corners doesn’t look very much like Peekskill.

The last scene in Our Town takes place in the cemetery. Emily, whose romance and marriage with George comprise the emotional arc of the first two acts, has died in childbirth and is joining her family and fellow citizens who have died before her. Sitting in those folding chairs, they look down at the town while “the earth part of ’em burns away.” In my scenes, they’re looking down at Peekskill, not Grover’s Corners. All the actors and directors will be Peekskillians.

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