An intimate look at small town life at the turn of the 20th century may not have seemed compelling in 1938 when Thornton Wilder first brought his masterpiece to the stage, but the test of time has proven that this show is very much worth another look.
“Our Town” is the story of the fictional small town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire beginning in 1901. The premise is deceptively simple but ultimately timeless as it becomes clear that although times were different, the shared experiences of our lives remain largely the same.
“I was first exposed to Our Town probably 28 or 29 years ago,” says Jack J. Bennett, YST director. “It was a mediocre high school production and made virtually no impact on me. In 25 years of producing live theatre, I never really thought about it again.”
With the challenges of the past 18 months for live theatre, YST was looking for shows that could quickly be repurposed into an online, remote format if that necessity arose again. “Our Town” was suggested, and they decided to do it. “I couldn’t be happier that we made this decision, and I got to really take a look at this play,” explains Jack. “There’s definitely a reason some people say it’s the greatest American play. The simple story subtly explores deep ideas about the human condition. I’m really excited to put this out there, as I feel strongly that we have done the story justice.”
The show is presented as intended by the author, with almost no props and very little set. The story is moved along by the slightly mysterious Stage Manager, who interacts with the audience as well as the characters on stage. Returning to play this role is George Triplett, who previously appeared in YST’s 2019 production of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”. Connor Chaney, just seen as Lane the butler in YST’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”, plays the lead role of George Gibbs, and Rachel Banks, new to the YST stage, plays the role of Emily Webb. The cast is mostly adults, with youth roles being played by some YST regulars.
Covid protocols will be in place, and per current guidelines, live attendees will be asked to mask while in the theatre. All actors will perform without masks. A four-camera HD livestreaming option is also available for those unable to or uncomfortable with coming in person.
Tickets, both live and streaming, are available on their website, www.YoungStarsTheatre.org