Sightlines Theatre does Our Town

Thomas Haney secondary Sightlines Theatre presents Our Town by Thornton Wilder.

Yury Onikashvili plays George Gibbs and Marlowe Evans plays Emily Webb in Thomas Haney Secondary's production of Our Town by Thornton Wilder. Below

Yury Onikashvili plays George Gibbs and Marlowe Evans plays Emily Webb in Thomas Haney Secondary's production of Our Town by Thornton Wilder. Below

The year is 1901 and for the citizens of the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, life goes on.

Howie Newsome, the milkman, and Joe Crowell, the paperboy, played by Saul Bilsky, deliver goods to the Gibbs and Webb households.

Dr. Gibbs, played by Jake Dingwall, returns home after delivering a set of twins to a family in the town.

Mrs. Gibbs, played by Jolana Glatter, and Mrs. Webb, played by Kaytlynn Carr, make breakfast for their children, George, played by Yury Onikashvili, and Emily, played by Marlowe Evans, respectively, before sending them off to school.

Then the mothers head outside to gossip.

This is how Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning play Our Town opens as he explores love, life and death in small-town America.

The three-act play is being presented by Thomas Haney secondary Sightlines Theatre.

The play is unique in that the main character is a stage manager, played by Alex VanAert, who interacts with the audience in the present time.

“He is this ethereal being, this omniscient narrator who can flow back into the world of the play and move back and forth through the fourth wall of the theatre.  So he interacts in the world of the actors and can flow through their time line,” explains the theatre’s artistic director, Shelley Evans.

The stage manager becomes characters in the play like Mr. Morgan, the soda shop owner and the minister at George and Emily’s wedding.

He also talks to people in the audience and asks them about the play and the world of the play.

The set is minimalistic. It is a bare stage play where most props are mimed.

This can be challenging for the actors.

“The part that’s challenging about it is handling objects that you are not familiar with because the play is set in a totally different time. Things that I am not familiar with that they used back then,” said Jolana Glatter, who plays the part of Julia Gibbs.

One of the harder instruments she has to mime is a manual coffee grinder.

“Trying to convey what you need to is difficult. You have to work off your own merits rather than the scene around you,” continued Ryan Stibbs, who plays Mr. Webb.

“Drinking from a cup sounds easy, but putting it into practice is hard,” he said about miming the action.

Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1897. His first novel, The Cabala, was published in 1926. In 1928, he was awarded his first Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey.

Wilder started writing plays in the 1930s, during the time of the Great Depression, just before the second World War.

Although he received a Pulitzer Prize in 1943 for another play, The Skin of Our Teeth, Our Town was his most celebrated play. It opened on Broadway in 1938, winning a Pulitzer Prize that same year.

One of the main themes in the play is the passage of time and how quickly it can pass us by.

Wilder’s main message in Our Town is to appreciate life.

A universal message.

“It’s about making people realize what life is while they’re living it instead of after when it’s too late,” said Glatter.

• Our Town is being presented March 2, 3, and 4 at 7 p.m. at Sightlines Theatre, Thomas Haney secondary school, 23000 – 116th Ave., Maple Ridge. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $8 for seniors and students.

Tickets: 604-463-2001, ext. 2156.

Tickets will also be sold at the door.