FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 31, 2008
Contact: Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications
GMC Theatre Department Teams with Oldcastle Theatre Company for "Our Town"
POULTNEY--Area residents are in for a triple treat when the American classic “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder plays at Green Mountain College November 14 and 15. First, this will be a joint production between the College’s Theatre Program and the Oldcastle Theatre Company, with performances by seasoned professionals, talented GMC students, and local area children.
Secondly, a special guest on opening night will be Peter Davis of Dorset, Vt., who played the newsboy in the original national tour of the play in 1939 in Los Angeles. Thirdly, it will be presented in the Clara Hitchcock Fitzpatrick Jones ’09 Concert Hall in Ackley Theatre. The concert hall was beautifully refurbished this summer with a gift from the Fitzpatrick family of Stockbridge, Mass., in honor of Clara Hitchcock Fitzpatrick who graduated from Green Mountain College in 1909.
The play will be directed by Eric Peterson, founding artistic director of the Oldcastle Theatre in Bennington.
“This great play is hard to do,” Peterson said. “It demands a large cast and has key roles that need seasoned actors. By this co-operation between Oldcastle and GMC we get the creative edge needed to give the play the high production values it deserves.”
This production will feature professional actors in the roles of the two sets of parents, played by Richard Howe, Melissa Hurst, Paula Mann, and Ron Nagle—all of whom are well known locally from their work with the Oldcastle Theatre Company and the Dorset Theatre Festival and all have performed in “Our Town” before.
The classic role of the Stage Manager/Narrator will be played by David Poirier, who has also previously performed with the Oldcastle Theatre Company. The many and varied other roles will be played by Green Mountain College students. There will also be three local children in the production: Emma Baker, Nathan Mackey, and Zoe Riell, all of Poultney. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the opening of “Our Town” on Broadway in 1938. The play was strikingly different from theater of its time because it dealt with the lives of ordinary people in a small New England town and the play was written to be performed in a minimalist fashion on a bare stage. Both of these artistic choices were radical for the American theatre. The play received the 1938 Pulitzer Prize, and remains greatly admired to this day.
It is fitting to have a 70th anniversary production in Vermont. The play is set in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire—based on the town of Peterborough, N.H., where Wilder had written much of the play. Wilder knew Vermont as well, since he was a good friend of Paul Stephenson, the Dorset Theatre Festival’s Artistic Director in the 1930s. “Our Town” is a realistic, affectionate, and humorous look at life in New England in the early 20th century and also an examination of the human condition in a powerful and timeless way.
At GMC in Poultney the performances will be Friday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, November 15 with a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the general public are $10 and are available at the door prior to curtain. Performances are free for Poultney and GMC students. The play will also be presented at the Bennington Center for the Arts on November 21 and 22 at the same times. Tickets for the Bennington performances can be purchased in advance by calling 802-447-0564.