Our Town welcomes you


photo by Jake Arthur

Junior Julia Dansereau, playing one of the lead roles as Emily Webb, rehearses with freshman Michael McNamara, Wally Webb, on Tuesday Nov. 10.

Victoria Tomeo, Staff Reporter

Purebred Productions opened Our Town, a three-act play written by Thornton Wilder in 1938, on Wednesday Nov. 11.

Junior Julia Dansereau played the lead as Emily Webb, an idealistic but doubtful teenage girl, and sophomore Kyle Findlay, George Gibbs, an ambitious, All-American teenage boy.

The play portrays the two living in Grover’s Corners, a small town, that holds characters such as the alcoholic Simon Stimson, played by junior Nick Roof, and the opinionated Mrs. Soames, played by junior Victoria Parrish.

The theme of the play was to show how the living do not fully understand how to accept the simple things in life until they are out of time. The characters seem to live a normal life, or normal for a small town in the early 1900s, and even participate in gossip, marriage and religion with a few conflicts about alcoholism and affairs.

Our Town is very stripped down,” theatre teacher and director Trevor Southworth said. “There aren’t any huge sets or really fancy lighting or huge props.”

The stage, at first glance, had little to nothing on it except a few tables, chairs, and two archways for the first act. Due to this, the actors had to use their pantomiming skills and facial expressions to move through a scene.

“It was an adjustment, but I thought it was really cool—definitely something different,” junior Karina Erickson, who was part of the ensemble, said.

Performers prepared for six to seven months by learning about their characters’ motivations and backgrounds, memorizing their scripts, and rehearsing Monday through Thursday for two hours while t-shirts, posters and programs were being made being the scenes.

Most to prepare for, however, was the final scenes of Our Town that wrapped up the acts and gave the plot a more defined explanation. Emily, now Mrs. George Gibbs, dies during childbirth a few years later and is next seen joining the dead, which included the alcoholic Simon Stimson, Mrs. Soames and George’s mother Mrs. Gibbs, along with several other unnamed people.

The stage manager, played by junior Kimberly Ariza, grants Emily a time in her life that she could relive, though Mrs. Soames and Mrs. Gibbs plead her not to, and Emily chooses her twelfth birthday. During this, Emily realizes how much the living overlook the simple things like coming down for breakfast and having conversations with one another about everyday life. Just as everything is happening, Emily falls to her knees and begs the Stage Manager to take her back, that everything was happening so fast, that she felt so out of place in something so familiar. Once Emily returns to the cemetery, she sits down and joins the dead while the Stage Manager tells the audience to go home and get some rest because in Grovers Corners, it was just past eleven o’clock.

“The ending was the craziest and hardest act that I’ve ever done in my life,” Dansereau said.

Our Town, through its contemporary style and lack of the usual setting, provided a new perspective on performance, utilization of a large cast with complex characters, and “bare-boned acting” that heavily depends on the actors’ ability to articulate the scene with no props.

Video by Bailey Fisher