Public Song With Two Electric Chairs

Helene Chatelain's video documentary profiles the 2001 restaging in Los Angeles of Armand Gatti's ambitious play about Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, anarchists who were electrocuted in 1927 in Massachusetts for a double murder. The play, first performed in 1966, incorporates actual trial transcripts and opinions from the actors and the audience regarding the two men's imprisonment and execution. Director Emmanuel Deleage, who founded Courage Theater Company in order to produce this play, uses a racially and ethnically diverse cast, underscoring Sacco and Vanzetti's marginalized status as Italian immigrants. Chatelain includes interviews with many of the cast members, who run the gamut from upper middle class to homeless; many are first-generation Americans who speak movingly about their struggles to assimilate. One major drawback is Gatti's narration—although he speaks eloquently about American class and culture, his heavy accent makes it difficult to understand much of what he's saying. 135 min.

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