Central student will screen documentary
CHAMPAIGN — A Central High School student who made a documentary about his school's controversial production of "A Chorus Line" will screen it at 7 p.m. Friday in the school library's lecture hall.
A brief discussion and Q&A will follow the free screening. The public is invited.
Matthew Brooks, a senior, intended to create a short film for an independent study project under the guidance of LaDonna Wilson, an English teacher and the school's theater director.
He filmed the making of Central's production of "A Chorus Line" in 2011, from the first summer dance clinics to the troupe's performances at the Illinois Theatre Festival at Illinois State University.
With hundreds of hours of footage and interviews, the film grew in vision and length to become a 90-minute documentary. After the independent study ended, Brooks continued working on the film in his spare time, writing, editing and creating the movie "Dance: Ten; Film: Three."
The school's production of "A Chorus Line" caused a controversy locally, with people writing letters to the editor of The News-Gazette saying the musical was not appropriate for a high school production. Others wrote letters in support of the production.
One issue raised was if the students understood the material. The cast members Brooks interviewed show a grasp of the themes of body image, work, rejection, coming of age and following dreams, according to a release from the school's drama department.
"Brooks' film also shows the tremendous amount of thought and work that goes into mounting a full-scale theatrical production at the high school level, showcasing everything from set building and lighting, to character work and dance rehearsals," the release reads.
Because of the size of the hall, space for Friday's screening is limited. Reserve a seat by contacting Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.