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CAST FROM THE STORM (David Mason). 72 minutes. Screening Thursday (July 21). See listing. Rating: NNN
David Mason’s tender documentary tracks teen refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Serbia gathered at a high school in Sydney, Australia. They’re set to tell their stories, with hopes of turning them into a stage production under the guidance of a therapist and a theatre arts specialist.
The let’s-put-on-a-show-under tough-circumstances premise is not new – Autism: The Musical handled it expertly, for example – but this doc succeeds thanks to its compelling subjects. Each kid has experienced trauma and handles it in a different way. Some revel in the artistic process, others can’t keep their focus, all of them can barely get through their stories the first time they share them with their fellow cast members.
There’s a half-hearted attempt to make us worry that the play will never get written, but the essential tension lies in whether these teenagers, none of whom has ever been onstage, can rise to the occasion of their first performance.
Ultimately, the film’s beauty lies in what it says about the powerful impact of theatre, both on those who make it and those who view it.