‘Our Town’ Captures Life in More Innocent Times

Talynn Soghomonians
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The Pulitzer prize-winning play “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder is the current production of the Glendale Community College Theater Arts Department.

Directed by Mary Sullivan, the play was first produced on Broadway in 1938 and captures the lifestyle of a small community called Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, in the early 1900s.

The story focuses on neighbors the Webbs and the Gibbs. The play is divided into three parts, the childhood of George Gibbs (Anthony Quintana) and Emily Webb (Helen Huss), their marriage and her death. The residents of Grover’s Corners lead a simple life.

However, that simplicity is at times disrupted by controversies around town – one, concerning alcoholic choirmaster Simon Stimson (Nathan Milisavljevich). In one humorous scene Stimson directs the choir while he is drunk. The women, Mrs. Gibbs (Megan Parks), Mrs. Webb (Selin Mehrabian) and Mrs. Soames (Nancy Greene) gather to gossip about Stimson’s immoral actions of that night.

The two 10-minute intermissions help viewers separate the time gaps that occur in the story. The Stage Manager (Daniel Moore) appears during certain times to offer the viewer additional information about a scene that might have been skipped. At the beginning of the second act, the Stage Manager shows the audience a flashback to observe the exact moment Gibb proposed to Webb.

As in Wilder’s original set design, there are only a few props to indicate the different homes and parts of the town. For example, a ladder represents the bedroom window seat. In order to symbolize the church, there is a religious picture projected onto the wall.

The actors rely on their imaginations to create the setting they are trying to illustrate. One of the funniest examples of this is Howie Newsome’s (Jason Hardwick) horse, Bessie, which is invisible in the play.
The costume design, including long skirts and formal suits, are true to the time period of the play. During the wedding, Emily Webb is formally dressed in an extremely traditional and conservative bridal gown as she makes a spotlight entrance through the audience.

Throughout the play, the stage manager along with characters Professor Willard (Suzanna Mirzoian) and Mr. Webb (Travis Riner) give facts about Grover’s Corners such as the birth and death rates, population and religion preferences within the town. The characters also interact with the Stage Manager by answering questions that he directs to the audience.

“Our Town” will be presented on the Auditorium Mainstage tonight, Saturday, Sunday and Thursday, and Oct. 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 27. Performances are at 8 p.m., except Sundays, when matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 general admission, $5 for students and seniors and $3 per person for groups of 10 or more. For more information, call ext. 5618.