Film Hick: Stagedoor (2006)
Director: Alexandra Shiva; Running Time: 79 Mins
Stagedoor is a documentary about Stagedoor Manor summer camp, a theatrical program in the Catskills, and gives the viewer a suprisingly compelling insight into the drama that goes on behind the scenes.
I have to admit that I wouldn’t normally go for a film about this kind of thing – not being vaguely interested in musicals and I’ll admit it – being turned off by the stereotyped idea of what a kid who wants to perform in them might be like.
There is something of sense of the film maker wanting to touch all bases, to tick all the boxes and show that the people at the school come from a variety of backgrounds. Even if this is a tad heavy-handed the personalities of the kids shines through and the sale of this as a place where the outsider can become an insider by virtue of their talent is almost pulled off.
Except that in a meritocracy, a place driven by talent, you are of course going to have some stratification, and the lines are drawn pretty sharply. As with most of these kind of documentaries the interest is in the human being stripped bare – showing their damage, and not the drama school part of it. It’s like watching a nature documentary with lions and zebra – well, maybe a bit more gentle than that. The place does teach people some important lessons, does have a primarily positive mindset, and does give people a chance to shine. Ah, go watch it – I’ll stop blathering.