Coming of Age in 1960’s America

One afternoon in Tulsa Oklahoma, in the 1960’s a 15-year-old student at Will Rogers High School named Susan Hinton witnessed a friend being attacked by a gang of boys on his way home from school. That was “life” in her rough, working-class neighborhood. Rival gangs stalked the streets looking for excitement “going to the prom, the big thing was who got the booze, how they got it in and who got killed in the parking lot”. Young Susan voraciously read everything she could get her hands on from Gone with the Wind to The Stranger by Albert Camus. The night after the attack, she put a piece of paper into her father’s old typewriter and began writing a story about a kid who was beaten up as he was going home after seeing a movie. She tried to capture the adolescent rage and frustration she saw in her own hometown. There was much to write about. When she was finished, she had a very long short story. In the way it treated adolescent life with an adult seriousness, it has been seen as the beginning of the literary genre known as Young Adult Fiction.

The story: The Curtis brothers’ parents are deceased so older brother Darry raises and supports his younger brothers, Ponyboy and Sodapop in 1960’s Tulsa Oklahoma. Some of the more affluent teens harass and assault Ponyboy until some of his fellow Greasers chase them off.

Cherry a beautiful Soc, discovers that she is attracted to the older and tougher Dallas and finds herself caught in the space between the Greasers and the Socs. The Socs have everything, and the Greasers only have their friends. As the young people try to find themselves and each other, the sadness of sophistication begins to touch their lives and their battles, and relationships are resolved. Ponyboy’s dying friend sends him a last message: “I’ve been thinking about the poem that guy wrote. He meant you’re gold when you’re a kid, like green to everything – that’s day.”

This is a play which presents young people who are not yet hopeless about latent decency in the midst of struggle. This play reflects what one finds in many segments of society today. This is one of the most important plays about social inequity and its affect on many young people as they work through their adolescent life.

Independent Players is thrilled to be able to bring this engaging dramatic story to the suburbs. We hope you enjoy seeing it as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.