The Linkville Player’s 2019/20 theatrical season opens on Friday with a new production of Thornton Wilder’s classic drama, “Our Town,” directed by Barbara M. DiIaconi, with incidental music provided by Bill “Slippery” Eaton. The play features a cast of 15 actors, including several making their Linkville stage debut, according to a news release.
Opening night ticket holders are invited to enjoy a complimentary champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of the theater, hosted by Julie Rokes and Charles Cossey.
“Our Town” is one of the world’s most popular plays. Set in the early part of the 20th century in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, the play follows the day-to-day activities of the townspeople, especially the lives of the Webb family and the Gibbs family.
The play has three acts, which are entitled “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage” and “Death and Eternity,” respectively. DiIaconi describes the play as “a celebration of lives filled with friends and neighbors and genuine goodness” and as a “must-see” for theatre lovers of all ages.
“In general,” she notes, “‘Our Town’ explores the stability of human traditions and the reassuring steadfastness of the natural environment, with emphasis on the transience of human lives and, especially, the rapid passage of time.”
The ‘Stage Manager’
With a sparse all-black set and minimal props, the play is introduced and narrated by a character known as the ”Stage Manager,” played by Edith (“Edie”) Brown-Vieyra, who is making her Linkville debut in the part, having previously appeared earlier this summer in “The Addams Family Musical” at the Ross Ragland Theater.
The Stage Manager speaks directly to the audience and acknowledges that they, too, are actually in a play. She also takes on various roles of other characters in the play from time-to-time.
Michelle Rust and Mathew Landsiedel portray Dr. and Mrs. Gibbs, one of the two principal families in the play. Their two children are George and Rebecca, played by Jordan Solomon and Molly Dively.
The other principal family includes Jennifer Bavarskas and Patrick Staffler as Mr. and Mrs. Webb. Their two children are Emily and Wally, played by Tera Eastburn and Tom Age, the latter of whom also plays Si Crowell. Mr. Webb is the editor of the Grover’s Corners Sentinel, the local newspaper.
It is the developing and, ultimately, enduring relationship between Emily Webb and George Gibbs that is the focus of the play.
Other characters include Brendan Ketchum as both Howie Newsome and Professor Willard, Ian Montgomery as Simon Stimson, Kitty Jackson as Mrs. Soames, Charles Cossey as Constable Warren and Karen Ivan as a lady in the balcony. Elias Renner portrays the young Si Crowell.
Jules Fitz Gerald has served as the assistant director of the play with Joani Kelly serving as the production’s stage manager. Wendy Dyk and DiIaconi have designed the period costumes while Landsiedel has worked with DiIaconi to design the lighting for the play.
DiIaconi is a recently retired attorney who has been actively involved on and off the Linkville’s stage for the past 25 years, directing and designing her own productions as well as performing both principal and character roles in her own as well as in other productions. She has also served as the lighting and costume designer for a variety of productions at the Linkville. Most recently, she directed “The White Rabbit and Alice” there.
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was an American playwright and novelist who won three Pulitzer Prizes, for the novel “The Bridge Of San Luis Rey,” and for two of his many plays, “Our Town” and “The Skin of Our Teeth,” which was presented at the Linkville several seasons ago. He also won a U.S. National Book Award for his novel “The Eighth Day.”
“Our Town” opens a nine performance run at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, and closes on Saturday, Oct. 5. Eight 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday performances and one matinee have been scheduled. The matinee performance is set for Sunday, Sept. 29.
Reserved tickets for “Our Town” are $11 to $14 and are available in advance at Poppy, 522 Main St. A $1 per ticket discount is available to students, seniors and members of the military. Tickets must be purchased in person. Telephone 541-884-4361 for ticket information and availability.
For more information about “Our Town,” telephone Cossey, the production coordinator, at 541-884-8484.