As patrons take their seats, an actor walks on stage to adjust a chair, pick up a prop and look about as the lights dim. He steps forward into the light and begins telling you tidbits of information about his hometown of Grover’s Corners; where the school is, the churches, who lives where and who is married to whom and what they do. He invites you to visit his small, American town at the turn of the century and so begins South Pasadena High School’s beguiling and poignant production of Thornton Wilder’s enduring play, “Our Town”.
The artful simplicity of the direction by Daniel Enright allows the audience to invest in these characters without realizing how deeply they are connecting with them. Much laughter could be heard and eventually tears as we recognized ourselves, our families, our mothers and fathers in the beautiful, mundane act of living life.
In the first act we come to know the various townspeople and most intimately the Gibbs and Webb families. Young George Gibbs and Emily Webb grow up as neighbors and eventually fall in love. Jackson Monical is a charming and earnest George while Alana Carmona plays Emily with a passionate spark that turns into devastating pathos. Rachel Lu plays the role the second weekend and has wonderful chemistry with Monical. Morgan BeVard and Matias Geiberger evoke the period with their genuine delivery as Mr. & Mrs. Gibbs. Lucy Eller is a standout as George’s sassy, smart, younger sister. Lindsay Calva is funny yet potent in her matter of fact performance as Mrs. Webb and Andres Oyaga is splendid as Mr. Webb, the kind editor of the local paper.
Mateo Diez creates an affecting, complex portrayal of the troubled town choirmaster, Simon Stimson, while Katie Chabot is a hoot as the town gossip, Mrs. Soames. Guiding the audience skillfully through the comings, goings and passings of the citizens of Grover’s Corners is the thoughtful, soulful performance of Anders Keith. The entire cast does a terrific job and is rounded out by Adianna Paul, Miles Mendoza, Jennifer Lopez, Rose McCullough, Charlie Primuth, Joshua Nakamoto, Hailey Bugg, Max Sukhbaater, Shak Tsogtgerel and Adam Fagenson.
“Does anyone ever realize life while they live it? Every…every minute?” asks Emily. Take a minute to discover and appreciate your life and the people in it by seeing this timely production of “Our Town”.
Final two performances this weekend, Friday Dec. 9 & Saturday Dec. 10 at 7pm at the Little Theatre at South Pasadena High School. 1401 Fremont Ave. $12 tickets at the door.