‘Our Town’ teaches life lessons

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Theater freshman Catie Carlisle, playing Emily, and theater and speech sophomore James Dean, as the stage manager, perform a dress rehearsal from the play “Our Town” Wednesday in McCreless. In this scene, Emily revisits her 12th birthday.  Photo by Vincent Reyna

Theater freshman Catie Carlisle, playing Emily, and theater and speech sophomore James Dean, as the stage manager, perform a dress rehearsal from the play “Our Town” Wednesday in McCreless. In this scene, Emily revisits her 12th birthday. Photo by Vincent Reyna

Correction: The plot revelation that the character George Gibbs dies is incorrect. The plot concerns the death of his wife.

By AMANDA RIOS

sac-ranger@alamo.edu 

The fine arts department will stage the classic American play “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder Thursday through Oct. 14 for this semester’s first production.

The play was first performed in January 1938 in McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J., and brought to film in 1940. Theater Coordinator Paula Rodriguez, who directs the play, said Sept. 24 that she chose this play because it is an American classic but students today can relate to it.

“This play is relatable to today’s society, which is why it is an American classic, though not all American classics have the same format as all American classics do,” Rodriguez said.

“An American classic can be told from the beginning of time but still be relevant to today, so that usually is how a play becomes an American classic. The subjects and themes in this play can be connected to the audience,” she continued.

She said she also chose the play because of the characters.

“I knew this play had a variety of characters, where the students can experiment playing young and old characters,” she said. “And I thought it was a story that the students can connect with.”

This play has been done before by students at this college, but it was more than 30 years ago in the late 1960s or early 1970s, she said.

She explained the plot: The play is about life, love, marriage and death in a small town. It follows two of the main characters, George Gibbs and Emily Webb, from when they were young teens. The play follows how they fell in love, when they got married and the fears that came along in life.

The play follows up with the death of George Gibbs and his wife’s feelings about her husband’s death.

“The play deals with the little day occurrences and how everyday people don’t pay attention to the little details in life until somebody is gone,” Rodriguez said.

The production uses 15 actors and four stage crew workers.

Theater freshman Catie Carlisle plays Emily Webb, and theater freshman Hunter Wulff plays her husband, George Gibbs.

Theater sophomore James Dean plays the stage manager, a character who narrates as well as appears as such townspeople as a soda shop owner.

Students in theater classes are also helping build the set along with the rest of the crew. They also help with lighting, costumes and props.

“I would recommend for students to see the play because it is relatable to everyday life. The characters are doing what you do everyday when it comes to something as simple as getting up, getting dressed and having breakfast with your family,” Rodriguez said.

The play means to reflect that even the little things in life are just as important and that students should appreciate life and live it to the fullest, she said.

The play premieres at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the theater in McCreless Hall. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and Oct. 11-13 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 14.

Admission is $2 with an Alamo Colleges ID, $8 for high school and other college students with IDs and $10 general admission.

For more information, call 210-486-0263.

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