25 February 2005 | noralee
A Cheerful Romp Through Commnity Theater
"Bigger Piece of Sky" is a sweet little movie about why people do theater, specifically community theater as "let's put on a show"-ism in its purest form. It cheerfully embraces the clichés of theater folk to go beyond them to understand the people within.
Our entrée to their world is a sad sack who makes his way into the local troupe therapeutically to get out of his depressed lonely doldrums after being dumped by his girlfriend. The actor who plays him is a bit problematical, in that he really does seem like an amateur, particularly as he is surrounded by pro's John Corbett, Amy Smart and Sean Astin having a rollicking good time. It does seem like the editing has to create the illusion that he's rising to the occasion for the climax.
I've had a soft spot for Edmund Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" ever since I read it in high school, so I'm sympathetic to how it is used throughout the movie for its symbolism about panache, using another's words to express one own's inarticulate feelings, and the liberation of pretending to be someone else. The theme is also exuberantly updated to role-playing games as another outlet when even the stage isn't enough.
It was refreshing that a character who is ill doesn't seem to have the usual movie star disease but actually shows some effect of the illness. While we only learn about the non-stage life of the central character, so we have no idea what the other participants do in their "real" lives, it is successful at demonstrating the truth behind the song that show people are the best people to know.
While the quote that is the source of the title goes by very quickly, the dialog has cheerful good humor and gentle laughs and the plot turns enough not to be predictable.
The Portland locations are used very well, particularly of an old theater.
It is a cute joke that Patty Duke plays twins, which will lead to baby boomers in the audience humming a certain TV theme song on the way out.