The Clarion

Production explores finding identity

The play

The play "Our Town" explores personal identity through the stories of two characters, George Gibbs (Daniel Swenson) and Emily Webb (Allison Durst).

Maria Cina / CLARION

Maria Cina / CLARION

The play "Our Town" explores personal identity through the stories of two characters, George Gibbs (Daniel Swenson) and Emily Webb (Allison Durst).

Matt Withers, Arts Editor

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Finding yourself is never easy. People can go the majority of their lives never truly knowing who they are or what they stand for.

This is one of the themes that director Miranda Hawk hopes to explore with Madison College’s upcoming production of “Our Town” written by Thornton Wilder.

“Our Town” is show within a show, the audience is welcomed by the stage manager who then guides the audience and the actors to the stories Emily and George. The play follows them throughout their lives and they fall in love and all the hardships that come with. Hawk decided to make one small change that drastically changes how the show is presented and perceived, by making the stage manager who is typically male, into a female character.

“The lenses that I’m looking at this story through is not necessarily from the stage managers point of view, but I’ve changed it to be more of a eagled-eyed view of Emily… there are a number of times I want to reflect the stage manager and the character of Emily, as if the stage manager is looking for something that she doesn’t really realize that she’s looking for,” Hawk said, when asked what she hoped to do with the show.

Hawk also mentions that even though this show is an American classic, with “80 plus…” productions being performed throughout the world at the moment, she finds that for a show written in 1938, there are still important lessons to take away from this production.

“It’s a beautiful, timeless story… our last production was Columbinus and that was painfully timely. It was after the Las Vegas shooting but right before Florida and in dealing with those themes and going through the federal statistics, and even talking to our own students, finding their fears in just going to school. It’s really nice to turn around and say what about the beauty of the world. We can’t forget about that,” she said.
Hawk went on to explain that she thinks of the show as a drama with light hearted moments sprinkled throughout, but she really wanted to hone in on a small-town life in contrast with this messed up world that we are currently in.

Even though the show is set in the 1930s it may not necessarily feel like it.

“The costumes are from the 1930s, but the set is very bare bones… if there’s a kitchen then there will be three chairs and maybe a wall, but we’re relying on the people and the performances they give to bring people in,” Hawk said.

Madison College’s production of “Our Town” will be unlike any production of the show that has come before it.

Performances will be held on weekends from April 13 to April 22. The Friday and Saturday shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday shows will begin at 2 p.m.

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Production explores finding identity