When artistic director John Hennessey told the members of the Honeoye Falls-Lima High School Drama Club that the drama show they would be presenting this fall would be Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town, he was greeted with a unanimous response of “what’s that”.
None of the students in the club had heard of Wilder’s play. In the month since rehearsals began, the students have immersed themselves in the 1938 three-act play. It tells the story of the fictional American small town of Grover’s Corners between 1901-1913 through the everyday lives of its citizens, but it really tells audiences the story of every town the whole world over from the mundane of Daily Life (Act 1) to the romantic (Act II) to devastating sorrow (Act III). Through the young lovers George Gibbs and Emily Webb, their parents and siblings and other citizens of Grover’s Corners, Wilder delivers universal truths about what it means to be human.
“It’s a lot different than what we’re used to,” said Ryan Stansbury, who plays George. “Each act is a different time period so I have to act differently in each, as a young kid to teenager to an older adult.”
The play is told through the narration of the stage manager who addresses the audience directly. It is also different in that the show uses a minimal set and props. Sydney Picciotti portrays the stage manager. Katie Quigley is Emily Webb. Sam Gilbert is Doctor Gibbs. Riley Goold is Mrs. Gibbs. Christine Halfmann is Mrs. Webb. CJ Tomaszewski is Mr. Webb. Kim Salter portrays Rebecca Gibbs. Gabby Patchett plays Winnie Webb. Others in the cast are Adam Santucci (Joe/Si Crowell), Alec Bhaskaren (Howie Newsome), Raelynn Bovenzi (Professor Willard), Dominic Abraham (Simon Stimson), Taylor French (Mrs. Soames), Chris Olson (Constable Warren), George Walker (Sam Craig) and Kyle McDougall (Joe Stoddard).
“I like the brutal honesty, although the play is crafted in a beautiful way, about the reality of life’s cycle,” said Quigley, a senior who has performed in many dramas and musicals at HF-L. “I have never had to convey so many emotions in one show before as I have to with this one. The emotions in the show are so extreme from happiness as a young girl to love and romance as a teen to dying as a young mother. I had to learn how to stage cry and make it believable.”
The production will be Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the high school auditorium, 83 East Street. Tickets are $5.