Spring play creates timeless energy

Theater puts on popular play ‘Our Town’

Jane Anderson


Audience members can follow the intelligent Emily Webb and her neighbor George Gibbs throughout their complicated life in the American classic “Our Town,” according to theater arts teacher and director Jodi Hatzenbeller.

Hatzenbeller said she is very excited to see how the play will turn out because of the specific difficulties presented by the piece.

“I’m excited for all of the elements to come together, because this is one of those types of plays that doesn’t have a big set,” Hatzenbeller said. “We’re doing some really cool stuff with lighting and really setting the mood with that sort of thing and when all those pieces come together, it creates the world.”

According to Hatzenbeller, “Our Town” was chosen because of the challenging acting opportunities and a big cast so more people were included in the ensemble.

“Our Town” is a popular play that is put on in almost every high school at least once, according to Hatzenbeller.

“(“Our Town”) is about a small town at the turn of the century, but it’s sort of universal, like what everybody goes through and everyday life to falling in love to dying,” Hatzenbeller said.

According to freshman Annabella Strathman who plays Emily Webb, the 26 members in the play started rehearsal in early March, staying after school every day and practicing on their own time.

“(We rehearse) every night,” Strathman said. “I try to go over my lines from each act at least once a week. Eventually I just kind of memorized them.”

According to Hatzenbeller, the biggest obstacle the cast has faced during the preparation the minimal set was the hardest part.

“I think that the fact that it is such a minimal play without a big set means we really have to create the world through other ways,” Hatzenbeller said. “I think that’s probably the hardest part, getting those moments to come to life when it’s just the actors creating it.”

According to Strathman, being the lead in the play sometimes makes it hard to stay on top of homework, but she still enjoys the experience.

“The most difficult part is just keeping up with schoolwork as well as keeping up in the show but it’s nothing too bad,” Strathman said. “Overall, it’s just doing something that you really like and it’s worth it.”

“Our Town” takes place in the 1900s but students are still able to connect with the characters’ lives, according to Hatzenbeller.

“I think they can connect with what the characters are going through even though they’re talking about horses and the milk delivery system,” Hatzenbeller said. “It’s dated that way but there’s some really nice familiar things like the falling in love and the friendships and that sort of thing that they can connect with.”

Junior Benedict Chong, who plays George Gibbs, auditioned hoping he would get a part but was surprised when he found out he got a lead role.

“This is only my second show so I really did not think I would get a lead role. I was expecting to get a really minor role. Just the fact that I got a lead role was a really big accomplishment for me,” Chong said.

The play takes place 7 p.m. May 1 and 2 and 2 p.m. May 3 in the Auditorium. The cost  is $5 for senior citizens and students and $7 for adults.