From the Wiscasset Newspaper, published April 13, 2016
By Joy Braley, Heartwood executive director
HEARTWOOD PRESENTS “OUR TOWN” – IN OUR TIME
“Our Town,” by Thornton Wilder, opened in 1938 in NJ, went on to enjoy Broadway success, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama … and has remained in performance on the global scene, ever since. Heartwood Theater opens their version of this long running classic on April 29th, running through May 7th.
Heartwood’s approach to this incredible script is to bring its relevance straight into our time, staging it in a contemporary fashion. Director Griff Braley notes, “Rather than recreating Wilder’s play in its period, we’ll strive to illuminate the central tenets by staging the play in modern dress. Our goal is to re-experience the tremendous moment in American theater, which occurred with the opening of Wilder’s play, in 1938.”
This story of small town America, narrated by the stage manager, who directly addresses the audience, brings in guest lecturers and even fills in to play some of the roles, focuses on the simplest, ordinary moments of each extraordinary life.
Stripped of artifice, “Our Town” quietly, deftly argues for: a community of core values, in the face of a rapidly evolving world; the best of our humanity over the worst; and the faith to live in the mystery, without answers to some of our deepest questions.
The large cast merges a trio of strong, young professional actors playing the three major roles, with a talented cross section of local players and age appropriately cast students.
Stephen Shore, from NYC, returns for his third Heartwood production, taking on the weighty role of Stage Manager. Previous Heartwood roles include Jim in the second, musical version of “The Legend of Jim Cullen” and Le Bret, Cyrano’s sidekick, in “Cyrano de Bergerac.”
Grace Experience, also from NYC, played the captivating Blackbird, in “The Legend of Jim Cullen” and returns to Heartwood’s “Our Town” as Emily Webb.
Leaving the warm temperatures of Florida to round out the visiting actor trio is Vincent Hannam, playing opposite Miss Experience, in the role of George Gibbs.
Audience accustomed to the magical black box feel of the Poe Theater, will find a keen simplicity, as this story is told with no set (but not without the use of carefully crafted, narrative lighting).
Both script and presentation focus on the essence and beauty of our daily lives.
Produced by Special Arrangement with Samuel French.