ETHS to revive a classic

1229854_10152160679382114_157703760_n-1        Milo Krimstein


In Our Town, the sets are minimal, the scenery is nonexistent, and the stage manager (who plays a starring role) often shatters the fourth wall.

Our Town is a Pulitzer Prize winner, and is the most produced play in America. This weekend, the ETHS theatre department will be performing their own rendition of the classic play.

Our Town is a three-act play focusing on a romance between Emily Webb and George Gibbs throughout different stages of their lives.

“It’s small town attitude, small town closeness, and small town authenticity,” says Mr. Sollers, who is in charge of the production. “There’s also a sense of old-fashioned honesty. With the people in the play, what you see is what you get,”

Overall, Our Town examines the values of appreciating moment-to-moment living, and the excitement of life that is often missed by those who are living it.

“The nice thing about Our Town is it’s a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end. It provides a peek into the lives of the people who live in a small town in New Hampshire in the early 1940’s,” says Sollers.

The great American playwright Thornton Wilder wrote Our Town as an outlet for his dissatisfaction with the theatre of his time.

“Thornton Wilder was a big advocate of the notion that words and actions speak for themselves,” explains Sollers. “The reason why props and settings are excluded is so that the production could be as uncluttered as possible. This allows the audience to focus on the message of the play rather than the artifacts.”

Our Town is a very different kind of play because of how ‘theatrical’ it is,” says Kamal Sehrawy, who plays Mr. Gibbs in the production. “Because of the lack of settings, costumes and props, a lot of the play falls squarely on the actors’ shoulders.”

Lucy Godinez, who plays Mrs. Gibbs, says that the biggest challenge being an actress in the play is having to realistically apply gravity to imaginary objects. “It’s a lot,” she laughs. “But thats the fun in acting.”

“It’s kind of a double whammy for the actors, because they have to do a lot of specific and detailed pantomimes within the confines of imaginary walls,” says Mr. Sollers. “A lot of [ETHS productions] are very ornate with elaborate sets and big budgets. We didn’t do that with this play, not because we couldn’t, but because the script specifically says not to.”

For the most part, the ETHS rendition of Our Town will stay very true to the original production. However, one main adaptation is the size of the cast.

“Most productions of Our Town don’t include many of the characters who we’ve decided to cast. We have a full cast, with roles given to the entire township…and a very large choir, which appears in all three acts of the play. There’s plenty of opportunity for a lot of people to be in the show, and we’re taking advantage of that.”

Our Town will be running Feb. 13,14, and 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Upstairs Theatre.