The Marion Senior High School Hurricane Players will complete a successful year of theatre by staging Our Town, a Thornton Wilder play, on May 29-30 at the Lincoln Theatre.
Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning tale of small town morality is one of the quintessential examples of uniquely American dramatic literature. Described by the late Edward Albee as "the greatest American play ever written," the story presents the daily lives of the citizens of the small, fictional town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, through three acts.
According to director Todd Necessary, MSHS instructor for theatre and forensics, “Our Town was shocking and game changing for the American theatre scene when it premiered in New Jersey in 1938. It went on to enjoy success on Broadway and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.”
“The play's directions call for it to be performed on an unadorned stage: no curtain, no scenery. The audience, arriving, sees an empty stage in half-light. Simple set pieces like ladders and chairs come into play, but the actors use no props, and pantomime as needed to convey the story. The play's narrator is named after an important theatrical crew position: Stage Manager. This crucial character has the power to communicate directly to the audience, can control the passage of time, but also can interact with the characters. Each metatheatrical element is meant to draw attention to the constructs within the medium of theatre. In essence, Wilder wanted to return the focus of a theatrical experience to the three most basic elements of theatre: story (script), actors, and audience."
Much of the action centers around the lives of the Gibbs and Webb families, next door neighbors in Grover's Corners. The Stage Manager, played by recent MSHS graduate Luke Sage, introduces the audience to the members of these families: Doc Gibbs, (Cooper Billings), Mrs. Gibbs, (Riana Rutherford), George Gibbs (Brock Davidson), and Rebacca Gibbs (Morgan Duty). We also meet Mr. Webb (Ryley Sawyer), Mrs. Webb (Lily Gray), Wally Webb (Tyler Wolfe), and Emily Webb (Natalia Garcia). Along the way, we meet the other denizens of Grover's Corners.
“The cast has labored hard and fast on a very different, if not quiet and underplayed theatrical style,” said Necessary. “I am proud of them. Our Town is truly, every American small town. Of course, this is the finale for recent graduates Luke Sage, Riana Rutherford, Natalia Garcia, and Morgan Duty. I will miss them.”
“My experience with the Hurricane Players will forever be close to my heart,” said Luke Sage. “I am so glad to be part of such a great group of people as the ones that surround me every day. Mr. Necessary has helped me tremendously in my acting career, and I will be forever grateful. What a great play to go out on, the great Our Town.”
“I am super excited for my last play as a Hurricane Player,” said Natalia Garcia. “This year has been amazing competing and just being able to have fun with all my theater pals. I'm sad that my theater career with the Hurricane Players is coming to an end, but I'm very glad I was a part of it. I learned so much and will always remember the people and memories I made.”
The play will be performed on Wednesday, May 29, and Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre in downtown Marion. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students, available at the door.