by Nikki Anderson
When the stage lights shine on Our Town, the audience is instantly transported to Grover’s Corners, a small, fictional New Hampshire town created by Thornton Wilder. Directed by Tim Hillman, produced by Heather Christie, and assisted by Rachel Stevens, this is one play you do not want to miss. Said Stevens when asked for a quote; “This is the most interesting and dynamic play I have been a part of for a long time.”
The play begins with Rob Silva as Stage Manager standing center stage. He narrates the play and moves scenes along for the audience. The Stage Manager also offers his opinion, some foreshadowing, and an inside look at the facts concerning Grover’s Corners. Multiple incarnations of Emily Webb and George Gibbs take the audience through a seemingly simplistic daily life. Emily and George’s family intersection is told in whole — alongside the tale of townspeople and assorted family members. Love, marriage and death magically unfold in less than two hours. The story is one of both tragedy and comedy, as is often seen and lived in one’s life.
Cast member Michelle Chretien (Mrs. Soames) has performed with Swamp Meadow over thirty times and was “excited to work with a new director.” James Boss (Joe & Si Crowell), age 7, talks about his favorite part of the process as being included in the play and meeting new friends. Also, in his words: “I like to be on the stage.” Olivia Hussey (Emily Webb, Act 2) recalls a funny moment in rehearsals when the wedding vows were sealed differently between her and Connor (George Gibbs Act 2 and 3). “I was sick and did not want Connor to get sick, so we planned a high-five instead and didn’t tell anyone.” Chloe Anderson-Boss (dead person) was happy to be a part of the show, having been called in three weeks before show-time when Tim needed another body onstage for the graveyard scene and Chloe’s mom volunteered her! Said Jon Howe (Wally Webb); “Til death do we join!” All in all, rehearsals were the clichéd time of bonding, sharing laughs and getting to know one another better…but the cliché is so true it is hard to put it any other way.
Performed in the round, each performance of the opening weekend left the audience intrigued. Audience members commented, “You [the cast and directors] should be proud of yourselves.”, “How fantastic!”, and “This was completely enjoyable, we loved it.”. Laughter punctuated Acts 1 and 2 but Act 3 brought the audience to tears. There is still time to see this show. Three performance will be held at Captain Isaac Paine School in Foster, at 7:00 pm October 24 and 25, and a 2:00 pm matinee on October 26.