“Our Town” asks audiences to open their minds

“Pulitzer Prize-winning play everyone should see . . .”
Posted Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 5:57pm

It’s November, which means it’s time for another play put on by USU-CEU’s theater department and the play of choice is “Our Town.”

Director Todd Olsen said the storyline “follows a lifetime in three acts, the completion of a life. Each act is a part of life. The human experience is a shared experience.”

The way the play is written, it should be performed on an empty stage. Olsen is directing it in the form of “theater in the round,” where the stage is surrounded by the audience.

In order to do this, all of the seating will be on stage. This will only allow about 160 audience members to be seated. Olsen said this is one of the only problems that the production has had so far, possibly limiting the number of people who will be able to attend the play.

Olsen said the cast is doing really well. He said the hardest part of the production process and directing is casting. “If you cast well, 80 percent of the work is done,” Olsen said.

His favorite part of the play is the character of the stage manager. “He, in very few words, can say so much,” Olsen said. “It’s full of little gems about life; making the most out of the time you have.”

Olsen said the reason he chose this play was because it has always been on his list of plays to do. “Whenever we are able to do a play to let theater students experience great theater, we do. Students can put this on their resume and it looks good.”

The moral of the story is to make the most out of life, said Olsen. There are many messages. The audience can make up their own minds. That’s what makes a great play.

He said people should come see the play because “it gives them a chance to see a great play of the American theater. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winning play that everyone should see.”

The audience members should be willing to “go on a journey and use their imagination” when coming to see “Our Town,” said Olsen. “Suspend your disbelief. Realize that 100 years ago we went through the same things . . . Be prepared for an effective ending. It’s a very intimate experience.”

The production of “Our Town” will begin Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Geary Theater and will go until Nov. 16, including a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. After having an incredible run of “Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” Olsen expects “Our Town” to bring in quite a good-sized crowd.”

The cast consists of: Michael Johnson, Shelby Howard, Grady McEvoy, Amy Guthrie, Leisl Cope, Isaac Jones, Jamin Smith, Troyal George, Bethany Gilmour, Corey Ewan, Wilford Woodruff, Scott Zaborski, Carrie Huffaker, Dwayne Huffaker, Trax Decker and Todd Olsen. The play will be stage managed by Scott Westwood.

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