For nearly 70 years, Thornton Wilder’s three-act play Our Town has been a staple in American theater. Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play emphasizes the actors. He utilizes little scenery and few props, relying on the audience to fill in the gaps themselves, drawing them into the play.
At Fairmont High School, Fall Play Director Ross Taylor is reviving the classic drama that focuses on the ordinary lives of the residents of a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century.
Taylor has brought the famous play to Fairmont to make a point. “One of the points I’m trying to make is that this play is timeless in that it applies to all people at all times,” he said. “The Stage Manager makes a point to say that five thousand years ago, the people of Babylon sat down at a table and ate with their wives and children, just like today.”
Taylor mentions that this is also part of another message he’s trying to convey. “I’m trying to send a visual message,” he said. “It’s the diversity of the play that brings us together, rather than separates us, because we all share one thing, and that’s life.”
Taylor has cast the play to emphasize this, casting a wide variety of Fairmont students, including English as a Second Language students, members of the Advanced Placement programs, disabled students, and members of the Fairmont Drama Department.
Sophomore Caroline Grogan is excited to be a part of the play. “I feel that performing Our Town for Fairmont is really special,” she said. “It’s been performed many times, but it feels like you have a part in history because it’s such an important play to humankind.”
Sophomore A.J. Breslin, who plays Joe and Si Crowell in the play, enjoys how Taylor directs the play. “He has a lot of passion about the production,” he said. “I really respect someone who has that much passion about the play.”
Dedication to the play is also a major part of the production. “I feel that while some people think they can just take off time whenever they want, the cast should be at every rehearsal,” said junior Alexandria Meyer. “I’ve only missed maybe one rehearsal because of a doctor’s appointment. This play is very important to me; the theme really speaks to me.”
Taylor is very hopeful about the production. “I really hope these students understand the point I’m trying to make,” he said. “I hope that the production brings them together.”
Our Town will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18-20 in the Fairmont High School Auditorium. Tickets will cost $7.50 for adults, $5 for students, and will be free to senior citizens. Seating for Our Town will be limited, and tickets may be purchased by calling 937-499-1652.