Play examines life, love and death within community

Kris Stewart,
Managing Editor

A Pulitzer Prize winning production, “Our Town” follows the lives of two families, the Webbs and the Gibbs through life, love, marriage and death. Directing the production is Darryl V Jones, a CSUEB professor of 10 years who previously directed several productions on campus including, “In the Heights,” “The Wiz,” “Godspell,” “Chicago” and more.

The play normally takes place in a quaint town that lacks diversity, called Grover’s Corners in New Hampshire. This production will be set in a Bay Area cultured Grover’s Corners and will resemble what community looks like here.

It speaks to the condition of being human and having community and having family”

“It speaks to the condition of being human and having community and having family — something that we all can relate to,” said Jones. “It’s also a play that’s about community and about the relationships that you have within a small community.”

Wilder’s version of  “Our Town” was delivered through a naked stage, stripped down of large sets and a multitude of props. The play was written during the 1930’s in a time when American realism was a trend on the rise. Productions would use realistic sets in order to set the scene.

Wilder thought that the power of theater lies in the imagination and wanted to tell a story without a heavy set and outstanding props. He wanted the audience to create the scene in their minds.

Keeping with that tradition but adding a modern twist, set designer Margaret Adair MacCormack created elements to aid the story and update the audience on where we are in time without distracting the audience from the tone of the production.

“Some of the aspects that are meant to not be included really do kind of help the audience connect to it on their own without sort of imposing anything into it,” said MacCormack. “We wanted to find a way to marry the 1900’s styles and fashion and the 21st century styles and fashion and so far I think we’re doing a really good job of speaking to the play’s roots and our own personal connection to it.”

Jones has also added more music to propel the story and has the actors themselves play instruments and sing in the production.

“I believe that music sort of scores all of our lives,” Jones continued.“I use the music to score the lives of the characters as well.” Music often reminds us of a time in our lives and Jones feels music is a necessary component of this version of “Our Town.”

I use the music to score the lives of the characters as well”

“The style is very different than other plays,” said CSUEB student Ronnie Marasigan who plays George Gibbs in the play. “There’s a lot of miming so you really need to use your imagination for this play which I find fascinating, which makes it not only interesting for the audience but very interesting and a bit difficult for the actors as well, knowing where things are in your mind rather than actually physically having it on stage. If you’re not all seeing the same thing… it can’t really work as well as it should.”

The show runs Nov. 13-14 and Nov. 20-22. Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 8 p.m., and the Sunday matinee performance will begin at 2 p.m. Tickets will be on sale at the box office one hour before showtime.