Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

A True History of the Johnstown Flood

Historical docudramas are hardly a theatrical genre in vogue these days — especially one about an 1889 flood that few people today know or care much about. But Rebecca Gilman (Boy Gets Girl, Spinning into Butter) approaches it from an offbeat angle: focusing on a traveling family theater troupe caught in the doomed Pennsylvania town on the day of the disaster. Gilman sees the tragedy as a parable of class divisions (the working-class lowlands were deluged by the bursting of a dam built to create a fishing lake for a posh country club in the hills above) but also fashions a harrowing, up-close drama of people in crisis.