“This Trenton Life,” a documentary film created by students at the College, was shown in Mayo Concert Hall on Friday, Nov. 15. Special guest David Lee White, a leader at the Passage Theater in Trenton, was also in attendance to view the film for the first time.
The documentary, created by junior interactive multimedia major Josh Lewkowicz and senior communication studies major Nicole Thompson, captured life on the streets of Trenton and the back stories of several students involved in White’s youth theater program. More specifically, the film highlighted the positive effect the arts theater program has had on the students who participate. “Create, conjure, conceive” are the three principal words that the students involved in the theater program use as guidelines when referring to the potential goals of their talent and their peers.
“I’ve never met an untalented student,” White said about the students he met through his work with the theater.
The goal of this documentary was not to focus on the common misconceptions of Trenton as a tragedy case. Rather, its purpose was to display the positivity spread by the younger generations who live in Trenton and call it home. According to the opening speaker, the documentary also served as “a forum for their voices to be heard,” referring to the young adults featured in the film, as well as their work in White’s theater.
Two students featured in the documentary used poetry as a form of expression, regarding their personal experiences in Trenton as well as the stereotypes attributed to the city. Tamara, one of the students in the documentary, recited through poetry, “My voice, our voices are our outlets.”
Ultimately, the purpose of the documentary was to enlighten the audience on life in Trenton, not for all of its hardship, but for the opportunity to thrive through art. It demonstrated the need to open up one’s mind to perspectives that stray away from the theory that Trenton is solely a dysfunctional city and advocated for individual expression in a city that hasn’t lost hope.