Sahuaro’s Drama Department Performs “Our Town”


Kasia Jackson, Editor

Our Town is a play that is based in the early 1900s near the Massachusetts area, written by Thornton Wilder. This play shows the daily lives of citizens in a small town called Grover’s Corners.

There is a stage manager (played by Mason Shea O’Donnell) who tells the background stories of the townies’ lives and a synopsis of what we, the audience, are about to witness. The stage manager also interacts with the characters and their lives, which includes transitions between narrations and real-time. Professor Willward (played by Richard Lawson) describes the town’s demographics: population 2,642 and “mortality and death rates…constant.” The town is “85 percent Protestant” and the rest is Catholic.

A relationship that is put into the spotlight is Emily and George. They are really close and have been since they were young. George likes to telegraph Emily for answers on the math homework they received from school that day and Emily doesn’t get bothered by it. As a few years pass, Emily and George are now around the age of 16 or 17, they have grown and so has their level of maturity. Emily tells George that she feels like he has changed and doesn’t really talk to her as much. George confides in Emily, agreeing with her statements and expressing that he doesn’t want to go away for school. He offers to walk her home and hand in hand began the spark to their romance. Their romance ultimately leads to marriage, which has them both second-guessing their decisions and afraid of the unknown, but they go through with it anyway. The stage manager officiates their wedding, George and Emily come together as one. A connection that can never be matched between these two young lovers.

In the last act, by a shocking surprise to me, almost everyone has died. The stage manager announces that 9 years have gone by and that the spirit of the town has changed and everyone locks their doors now (which they didn’t do before). Most of this act takes place in the cemetery, and we began to learn when they passed and or the cause of their death. It was sad seeing those who had loved ones left behind, in so much pain visiting the graves. Emily was among the others in the cemetery because she too had died, which makes George absolutely crushed. Emily is given the opportunity to go back in time. She chooses to go back to 1899, her 12th birthday. As she is relishing in the moment, she realizes how much life is taken for granted. She becomes saddened by this realization and wants to leave from that day in 1899 and stay among the dead.

I loved the breaking through the fourth wall by continuing this performance off the stage and through parts of the audience. The makeup for those to look dead were amazing, truly loved the definition of the characters’ bone structures.

Mr. Austin, the current long-term substitute drama teacher, expressed why the department chose to put on this production, “It is stylistically very different from what we have ever done” and that it is “time to mix things up a little.” When asked about what the process was like putting on his first production at Sahuaro he said, “It was interesting…it was definitely an endeavor, like any other after school activities… like athletics, like any other art is.” He also mentioned that it was a “collaboration with students” and himself, who put all of this together and he showed gratitude in their efforts/participation to make this play possible.

I believe this play sends a great message, a reminder to appreciate what you have while its here because one is unsure when their time will come. This play isn’t anything I’ve seen before and nothing I would expect to be performed by high school students. With a message like that and the performers being able to convey it, was wonderful to witness.

There are two main families in the play that are next-door neighbors, the Webb family and the Gibbs. Each family are parallel of one another, with a wife, a husband, a son, and a daughter. Dr. Gibbs (played by Adrian Marciez) is the town doctor, who likes to be a jokester. Mrs. Gibbs (played by Lanie Duvall) has a strong desire of visiting Paris and she is always cooking and cleaning, taking care of her family. George (played by Ryan Mausert) is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs and has a strong love for baseball and wants to eventually run his uncle’s farm. Rebecca (played by Ariela Sanchez) is George’s younger sister, who comes off as head-strong. Mr. Webb (played by Richard Lawson) is in charge of the Grove Corner’s newspaper and is an easy-going type of guy. Mrs. Webb (played by Kaylee Derrick) has a very strong personality and isn’t afraid to use her voice. Emily (played by Arriel Welch and Marisa Linke) is the daughter of Mr and Mrs. Webb, who just wants to be accepted and loved. Wally (played by Cody Beuckman) is Emily’s younger brother. Howie Newsome (played by Livia Robinson) is the milkman, who has a great relationship with everyone in town. Simon Stimson (played by Angie Clowes) is a pessimist, the town’s alcoholic who leads the church choir. Mrs. Soames (played by Marisa Linke) is know for always gossiping. Joe Crowell (played by Daniel Savastano) delivers newspapers. Constabel Warren (played by Mikyla Cather) the town’s police officer. Si Crowell (played by Everest Giuffre) delivers newspaper. Baseball Players (played by Everest, Mikyla, Serenity). Sam Craig (played by Mikyle Cather) Emily’s cousin. Joe Stoddard (played by Everest Guiffre) is the undertaker. The tech stage manager behind the scenes was Amber Landon and the ASM/light board operator was Myla Cavanaugh.