Our Senior School Drama students presented American Montage to a sold-out theatre over 4 nights.
The inspiration for the play came out of the study of Thornton Wilder’s, Our Town, set in 1901. The universal appeal of Thornton Wilder’s play is that it celebrates community and those things that hold us together. The Year 11 and 12 students studied Our Town in great depth and found the play relatable, but of course, could see the way that town across America have changed in the intervening years. Small towns everywhere have been depopulated and struggle to maintain what they used to embody: safety, security, community and neighbourliness. Talking about what Our Town celebrated, led to an investigation into the fault lines of American society and deeply held differences of opinion about race, segregation, social inequality and mobility, and about foreign policy – The Vietnam War, the educated versus the uneducated.
The young people performing in American Montage are close in age to the American college students who led the resistance to the Vietnam War. They perform extracts about American history, itinerant workers, civil rights activists, aspiring Broadway performers and the threat of witches to community.
Our Town has great nostalgic appeal but young people today are confronting harsher realities. The future of the plane tis threatened. In keeping with the uncertainty of the age we live in, the focus of American Montage is on instances of social division, disharmony and struggle. The American dream is still the desired outcome, but groups and individuals who pursue it express this dream in vastly different ways.