No Ordinary Town

The Rye High School Parsons Street Players put on a poignant production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” the weekend of October 22. Staying true to the original spare staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, they used chairs, tables, and ladders to portray everyday existence.

Published November 4, 2011 3:07 PM
3 min read

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ourtownthumbThe Rye High School Parsons Street Players put on a poignant production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” the weekend of October 22. Staying true to the original spare staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, they used chairs, tables, and ladders to portray everyday existence.

 

The Rye High School Parsons Street Players put on a poignant production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” the weekend of October 22. Staying true to the original spare staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, they used chairs, tables, and ladders to portray everyday existence.

 

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Scott O’Brien and Luiza Almeida were charged with setting the stage for the audience – literally. They split the role of Stage Manager, traditionally played by one, and faced the challenge of keeping the audience engaged during their long sections of dialogue. O’Brien, a senior, concentrated on talking slower than normal as he recited facts about the town and its people, and came up with reasons for presenting each bit of information to the audience.

“I like the play because it’s so visceral,” added O’Brien. “That allows the audience to focus on the story and the simplicity of it.”

 

“You felt like you had to make every movement deliberate and obvious in order to convey to the audience exactly how you were cooking your eggs, or else no one would know you were cooking eggs at all!” said senior Catherine Hedge, who played Mrs. Webb. “It took an immense amount of focus for us as actors to analyze how you move when you perform daily tasks, such as opening doors and pouring milk into coffee.”

 

One of the highlights of the PSP production of “Our Town” was the way they set up the graveyard. Hedge noted that the exceptional lighting created an eerily somber and intense mood.

 

Senior Lindsey Noto was a standout as Emily Webb, a character who retains her voice even after death. Noto enjoyed figuring out the layers to the character, and finding truth to connect to her own life. “She gets to say goodbye to the world and tell an audience to appreciate life to its fullest, taking them on her journey of growing up, marriage, living, and dying.”

 

Noto’s fellow castmates were impressed with her performance.

 

“The actress who plays Emily will make or break the show and, lucky for us, Lindsey has an amazing presence on stage,” said O’Brien. “She was able to bring the character to life and engaged the audience with her understated performance.”

 

John McCabe nailed the Downeastern accent of his character, and Christian DeSantis hit it out of the park as George Gibbs. In all, the entire cast did a wonderful job showing the value of the ordinary and why small pleasures should be appreciated. Audiences left understanding how important it is to seize the day, any day.

 

“There’s so much in the play that’s relevant to life now, and I think that’s because, as we discussed early on in the rehearsal process, people don’t change much,” said Gwendolyn Wiegold, who played Mrs. Gibbs and is President of the Parsons Street Players. “Something in particular from the play that connects to high school is the rush. Everyone’s in a hurry to get to class, to get a good grade, to get into college. There has to be a time when we all slow down and appreciate the world and one another. But, like the residents of Grover’s Corners, we seldom find the chance.”

 

— Photos by Kathleen Durkee and Joel and Anne Darelius

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