It seemed like an audacious plan: In the midst of a pandemic, create a drive-in movie.
The challenges were many: Find a suitable location. Find a screen. Find a movie. Find an audience.
As much as everyone in Westport was itching to get out of lockdown in June, the concept was — well, different. Most folks under the age of 40 or 50 had never been to a drive-in. Would they leave the comfort of their couch to see something they could easily stream — for a lot less money — on Netflix?
Neighbors worried about the noise. They were mollified when they learned the sound is delivered through car radios.
Yet as they (sort of) said in “Field of Dreams,” “If you build it, they will come.”
Come they did. From opening night, Westporters flocked to the Remarkable Theater. Families with kids, teenagers with friends, empty nesters who may have started their families at a drive-in — all enjoyed a wide range of films.
Comedies, dramas, action, classics — all packed the Imperial Avenue parking lot, all summer long. It was an inspired choice for a site: big, accessible, and not far from the long-ago 4 theaters downtown.
The Remarkable Theater did something else besides entertain and enliven Westport. It provided jobs for a number of teenagers and adults with disabilities.
They set up, directed traffic and cleaned up. They enjoyed themselves as much as the filmgoers. Which is really saying something.
The Remarkable Theater’s season ends this month. Before the final (hopefully, just for this year) curtain closes, let’s honor the remarkable Remarkable Theater crew who made this happen.
To the board of directions (president Marina Derman, vice president and secretary Stacie Curran, vice president and creative director Doug Tirola, vice presidents Joanna Borner and Jonathan Steinberg, plus Marjorie Jacobson, Diane Kwong-Shah. Jeffrey Peterson and Yvette Waldman), along with technology manager Sharuna Mahesh: thank you!
You are our Unsung Heroes of the Week. If not the entire summer and fall.