“Our Town” Wows Critics

St. Andrew’s Upper School Theatre Department performed Our Town by Thornton Wilder for the fall play. First premiered in 1934, “Our Town” follows the story of Grover’s Corners, a small town in New Hampshire. Guided by the Stage Manager (Parker Dymond, 11th), the audience follows a small cast of characters and their lives over the span of over a decade. The play would later move to Broadway and win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1938.

The play focuses on the lives of two children from the main families of the play, the Webbs and the Gibbs. Emily Webb (Olivia Kindfuller, 12th) and George Gibbs (David Stevenson, 10th) grow up together and eventually marry. During the last act, the play deals with themes of how much we miss in our lives and how we don’t really appreciate our time on earth.  The play is mainly told with minimal set and props, and most of the show is pantomimed. “Our Town” requires a few tables, chairs, a bench, and two ladders. There are also two trellises to designate two different gardens. “It is a simple show and one that works best letting the audience use their imagination.” says Mr. Porter, the theater department head and director of “Our Town”; [The Pantomime] “has to be clear, consistent and specific. To that end, we will be bringing in a world-class mime, local performer Mark Jaster, who will be holding a special workshop with the cast.” The mime helped the cast with their miming and taught them the miming typically used in this play. The play is also very self-aware as the stage manager often directly addresses the audience and even interacts with them throughout the show. This gives the play a unique quality; it makes the audience feel like they are taking a more active role in the show. 

“I have never directed Our Town before and it’s a play I love. Every time I see or read the play I am moved to tears, so I knew that one year I would finally choose the show as our Fall Play.” says Mr. Porter when asked about why he chose “Our Town”. “One challenge of doing this show is keeping faithful to Thornton Wilder’s vision for a play that was first produced 81 years ago while keeping it interesting and relevant to today’s audiences.” They play has remained popular in the US since it’s a debut. It is likely one of the most produced shows in the United States and it doesn’t seem to be losing popularity anytime soon.

The performances were a week later than usual this year, November 1st and 2nd at 7:30, and 3:00 on November 3rd. Reviews from the Cappies organization rolled in. “Dazzling” and “thoroughly emotional,” high school critics roared about the St. Andrew’s production!

Oliver Bush ’22