Thanks, BW! FYI: This will be a reading of my play Kilgore by a group of talented actors. I won't be reading from selected works, but listening and watching as they read this full length play.
This play is a celebration of life. Brought to stage, BCT'S This Wonderful Life is an up-close relationship between the Capra film's story, the audience, and their new guide to the original story, Tom Ford. I was entranced from start to finish.
Thanks to Ford's tremendous performance, I felt more engaged by the story than I remembered from all the times I've seen It's a Wonderful Life--or at least in a new way. Though I love both, the communal theater experience has opportunity for an audience to feel like connected participants in the action, more than is allowed in the presentational quality of film. But this play was more than a narrative retelling, a rehashing or a recap--and Ford's performance was not mimicry.
As a solo actor, Ford did more than bring the characters from Capra's film to life. Through the film lover character, he showed how these Bedford Falls, WWII Era characters matter here and now. He made me love them, yet also see beyond them as characters, as though they were real people who lived. Also, as a monologue play, This Wonderful Life reveals the original's themes of being alone-together and attempting the impossible in ways the film does not.
With Murray's play, the shared infectious love for It's a Wonderful Life grabs an important heart: by showing how a meaty piece of art can long outlast its original artists and take on new journeys, this stage version is itself a new journey. I don't think any love or magic was explained away, but enhanced contagiously throughout the room.
I can't wait to see This Wonderful Life again and I know many who feel the same way.
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