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Our Town Brings Small-Town Americana to MHS

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Our Town Brings Small-Town Americana to MHS

On November 8-10, MHS Theatre put on a production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. From left to right: Marisol Morrissey, Ashton Reed, Andrew Karbusicky, Chase Harless, Ceia Kasper, Elora Doxtater, Krista Lederer, Zane Enloe, Aidan McLeod, Vivian Wagner, George Kostas, Elora Becker, Amelia Mackey, Isabel Garlough-Shah, Anezka Helmers, Tess Lincecum, Malin Reinhard, Tanner Choate, Rachel Reichard

On November 8-10, MHS Theatre put on a production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. From left to right: Marisol Morrissey, Ashton Reed, Andrew Karbusicky, Chase Harless, Ceia Kasper, Elora Doxtater, Krista Lederer, Zane Enloe, Aidan McLeod, Vivian Wagner, George Kostas, Elora Becker, Amelia Mackey, Isabel Garlough-Shah, Anezka Helmers, Tess Lincecum, Malin Reinhard, Tanner Choate, Rachel Reichard

Ceia Kasper

On November 8-10, MHS Theatre put on a production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. From left to right: Marisol Morrissey, Ashton Reed, Andrew Karbusicky, Chase Harless, Ceia Kasper, Elora Doxtater, Krista Lederer, Zane Enloe, Aidan McLeod, Vivian Wagner, George Kostas, Elora Becker, Amelia Mackey, Isabel Garlough-Shah, Anezka Helmers, Tess Lincecum, Malin Reinhard, Tanner Choate, Rachel Reichard

Ceia Kasper

Ceia Kasper

On November 8-10, MHS Theatre put on a production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. From left to right: Marisol Morrissey, Ashton Reed, Andrew Karbusicky, Chase Harless, Ceia Kasper, Elora Doxtater, Krista Lederer, Zane Enloe, Aidan McLeod, Vivian Wagner, George Kostas, Elora Becker, Amelia Mackey, Isabel Garlough-Shah, Anezka Helmers, Tess Lincecum, Malin Reinhard, Tanner Choate, Rachel Reichard

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On November 8-10, the Middleton High School Theatre performed Our Town by Thornton Wilder, bringing the story of a small 18th-century New Hampshire town to the bustling halls of 2018’s Middleton High School.

A classic of American theater, Our Town follows the town of Grover’s Corners through three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Eternity.” Throughout these three acts, the play follows the Webb and Gibbs families throughout childhood, marriage, and death. Despite its seemingly humble premise, Our Town is deep and thought-provoking, exploring the innocence of childhood and suffocation of growing up in a small town, the struggles and bustles of marriage and middle life, and the uncertainty of death.

One of the most engaging performances in the show was that of the stage managers. Typically portrayed by a single actor, the Middleton High School production featured three stage managers rather than one — played by Amelia Mackey, Nadia Langley, and Tess Lincecum. The additional stage managers, though unconventional, added to the role by allowing the actors to interact with one another and develop individual personalities.

 

Ceia Kasper
Junior Amelia Mackey took to the stage Thursday night playing the role of stage manager in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.

 

Outside of the narration, the majority of the play focuses on Emily Webb and George Gibbs throughout their childhood, marriage, and, in the case of one, death. Played by juniors Ashton Reed and Chase Harless respectively, these characters are some of the most believable, likable, and well-written roles in American theater. The chemistry between both the characters and their actors made it feel as if the audience were actually there, experiencing life alongside Emily and George in Grover’s Corners.

 

Ceia Kasper
Our Town follows the lives of Emily Webb (Ashton Reed) and George Gibbs (Chase Harless) as they grow up and fall in love in the small town of Grover’s Corners.

 

One novel feature of Wilder’s play is the absence of scenery and props, due to his philosophy that the essence of theatre was in the story and not the scenery. Despite this minimalism, the production value was incredible. The costumes and what scenery existed had an authenticity that small-scale productions like this one often lack.

The metatheatrical style of the production aside, the play itself was highly immersive. As well as the thoughtful scenery, the choice to incorporate live music into the show greatly enhanced the narrative.  In the transitions between acts, sophomore violinist Vivian Wagner played musical themes to provide exposition for the upcoming act. A talented musician, Wagner’s emotional melodies set the mood for the play and kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

Indeed, the entire play was flooded with talent, from the skilled craftsmanship of the crew to the brilliant acting. Every scene was captivating and genuine in its performance, holding true to Wilder’s intent. Filled with raw emotion and exploring a provoking theme, Emily Webb’s death scene was the most enthralling of the play. Ashton Reed’s performance in the final act of the play was genuinely heart-wrenching as she explored the theme that we live life without ever truly noticing and appreciating everything around us. Reed’s portrayal of Emily’s agony, the bittersweet remembrance of life, and the reluctant acceptance of the afterlife left the audience awestruck with the lingering remnants of Emily’s pain.

The caliber of acting and the ability of MHS Theatre to stay true to the writer’s intent was what made this a show worth remembering. Our Town is just one of the many shows in the 2018-2019 theatre season, and as a representation of this ensemble’s skill, it far exceeded my expectations. I will definitely be attending the Winter Play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to see more of what MHS Theatre has to offer.

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Our Town Brings Small-Town Americana to MHS