“‘Our Town’ has achieved a rare status,” said Cindy Croot, director of the play and assistant professor of theatre. “It’s a play people know. Unfortunately, they often know it from cardboard performances in cafetoriums. At HJT, we’ll set our production in a radio station in 1938, the year this legendary play entered the American consciousness.”
The cast and crew with use an “eclectic” Foley setup (live sound effects performed by actors) to bring to life the voices and sounds of the play’s city, Grover’s Corners, said Croot. “We’ve teamed with musician and producer Calvin Johnson of K Records to create the acoustic environment of the play, using both found objects and specially created props to achieve the rainfall, screen door slams and hen houses of small town America.”
“Our Town” received the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Wilder famously did away with the conventional theatrics, placing the play on a bare stage filled by the narration of a stage manager and the actors’ imaginations. Set in a fictional New England town on the eve of World War I, it is, in the words of the playwright, “an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life.”
Divided into three sections--“Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death-- the play focuses on two of the town’s young people, George Gibbs and Emily Webb. They fall in love, are married and Emily dies in child birth; she looks back from a world beyond at the precious life she left behind.
“In addition to its portrayal of a community,” says Croot, “‘Our Town’ is also noted for its critical voice and call to action: live, love, and appreciate the world while you still can. Along with Wilder’s sublime and soulful words, we’ll serve up a healthy dose of chaos (and maybe even a slice of pie) as we explore this American icon.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, call the HJT Box Office at 527-5180.
CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156