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A look into ‘Our Town’
Mainstage production debuts Thursday
December 8, 2021
The clock is ticking as time winds down for Rider Theatre’s first mainstage production in two years takes center stage. “Our Town,” the 1938 play written by Thornton Wilder, will be performed this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium after debuting on Thursday.
“It’s really about the words that are being said,” theatre teacher Tabitha Cahanin said. “It’s a very poignant piece of literature that carries a really good message about how we don’t always appreciate the things that are in front of us while they’re there.
“We really focused on telling that story and making sure we weren’t distracting with lots of flashy things and big set pieces. It’s really honest storytelling.”
With the absence of a show due to COVID last year, many members of the theatre department have yet to showcase their talents on the stage.
“I think it’s going to be a lot more impactful, it’s going to have more energy brought to the stage,” said senior Londi Reid, one of the three narrating stage managers. “It’s a genuinely good show to bring back mainstage with.”
Junior leads Abby Crutchfield and Jeff Ross are both new faces to the spotlight. Through their time commitment and intense line memorization, the two have connected with their roles to bring their stored energy to play.
“It’s like a role and a part that you play, but a lot of the time, it reflects on your everyday life,” Ross said. “For me, I want to show this role to the best of my ability, so I adapt my everyday life into ways I could fit this character.”
Crutchfield and Ross are not the only new additions to the stage. This year, “Our Town” will be a collaborative work between many different departments within the school.
The show will be implementing set pieces created by art teacher Jeremy Boren with live music composed by senior Logan Potter, music teacher Dwight Ham and Wichita Falls High School orchestra director Kevin Nguyen.
“I think it gives it a whole other life. Especially with this generation, everyone is so attached to their music in movies and television,” Cahanin said, “If you listen to a lot of it, music adds its own character to a show. It enhances and brings it from just being words on a page to bringing a living being into it. It just does a lot for our senses in that way.”
After about nine hours of rehearsal weekly, the cast of “Our Town” is prepared to showcase their hard work and dedication through the “touching” and “deep” message of the storyline.
“This is a play that I experienced in my sophomore year of high school in my English class,” Cahanin said. “It’s what made me fall in love with theatre and what it can do for people in the story that it tells. I think that a lot of people, maybe not this generation, have experienced that with this.
“It has been around for so long that there are a lot of connections and it’s still an important piece. I think it’s worth coming to see because there’s something to be taken from it even though it’s not flashy, loud or anything like that.”