Synopsis by Jason Buchanan
Documentary filmmaker Bill Rose examines the tragic fall from grace of the playwright whom many critics believed to be the next great voice in American theater with this film telling the story of Grinder's Stand scribe Oakley Hall III. The son of famed novelist Oakley Hall, Hall III first began to garner attention as the co-founder and artistic director of the Lexington Conservatory Theater in upstate New York. The year was 1978, and Hall III's work had recently been optioned by Joseph Papp of the renowned Public Theater in New York. The playwright has just completed his verse play, a drama titled Grinder's Stand that was based on the events surrounding the bizarre death of American explorer Merriweather Lewis, when he suffered extensive head injuries in a fall from a bridge not far from the Lexington Conservatory Theater. Both his life and career were irreparably altered by that fateful fall, leaving many to wonder what would become of the man whom critics often singed out as an enfant terrible with an incredibly bright future. Flash forward twenty-five years, and Hall III was hired as a playwright and consultant by a Northern California theater troupe determined to stage the play that he was writing the night that his life was forever changed, providing filmmaker Rose with the ideal opportunity to bring his remarkable story to the screen for the very first time. This program first aired on PBS on Tuesday, February 28, 2006.
acceptance, bridge [structure], determination, disability, fall [fall down], injury, kindness, playwright, self-worth, struggle, theater