By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette
Our Town, the Pulitzer Prize winning drama written by Thornton Wilder, is currently playing at the Warehouse Living Arts Center. The play, according to American playwright Edward Albee, is “The greatest American play ever written.”
Set in the turn of the 20th century town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, Our Town was first performed in 1938 at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, before finding success on Broadway. Locally, this is the third time the play has graced the WLAC stage, first in 1977, then in 1991.
An ensemble performance, the narration is casually shared by its Stage Manager (John S. Davies), primarily focusing on the Gibbs and Webb family through the course of three acts: Daily Life, Love and Marriage, and Death and Eternity. George Gibbs (.Jaxon Stubblefield) and Emily Webb (Alexis Lewis) portray the young lovers who grow up together, while discovering their evolving feelings for each other.
Their journey is tempered by their parents’ advice and support: George’s parents, the kindly and responsible “Doc” Frank (Jarrod Lampier) and Julia (Stephanie Robie) Gibbs, and Emily’s parents, the warm and hardworking Charles (Jarrett Stampes) and Myrtle (Suzanne White) Webb.
A broad cast of performers paint a colorful photo of Grover’s Corners’ daily life: Tim Brewer, Frances Dodds, Jen Mitchell, Charlotte Robie, Lorelai Stampes, Samantha Thompson, and Hannah White make up many of the townspeople. Professor Willard (John F. Kaiser III) is the local scholar. Simon Stimson (Gary Janeway) is the moody choir director. East cast member fluidly weaves on and off the stage floor to give the perception of a small, but active town life.
Over a century removed from our time, Our Town is a look into a simpler world, a place where where activities more took place around the home in the comfort of family. And yet, the human condition presented by the play remains eternal. The hopes, fears, dreams, and losses all remain relevant to today’s life, and the cast admirably shares these smaller, intimate moments with the audience. Its message and presentation during the production remain genuine.
Our Town is a quieter and thoughtful play providing simple moments, and an ending audiences will reflect on long after the show has ended. Remaining performance dates are: 7:30 p.m. Sept 13, 15, 16, 17, and a 2:30 p.m. matinee show on Sept. 18. Tickets can be purchased here.
A big THANK YOU to our supporters:
The Hull Creative Arts Foundation and the Lampier Family.
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