Presented by Rose Theatre/Suzanne Sturn Productions
Weekends April 6-22 at Center Stage, 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz
Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
Our Town, set in the early 20th century, has been described as “the record of a tiny New Hampshire village as created by the lives of its most humble inhabitants.” It invites reflection on how our country has changed over the past century. Yet the play is less about a particular time than about time itself, and the passing ephemeral quality of all life. Much like the inhabitants of Grover’s Corners, we too make breakfast, go to work, celebrate birthdays, get sick, get drunk, get married, raise children, and endure trouble. And yes, we also die.
Wilder’s play reflects his encounter with the Zen inspired Noh theater of Japan where Buddhist themes were played out on a largely bare stage. OUR TOWN’s staging is likewise spare: 2 ladders, 2 tables, and several chairs. Much of the action is mimed and left to the imagination of the audience. It conveys in a Zen-like fashion a sense of the preciousness of human life in the face of cosmic immensity.
As the Stage Manager, whose folksy commentary moves the play along, puts it: “We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t even the stars. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.”
Now more than ever, amid the fears, turmoil, and toxic divisions of our public life, OUR TOWN lifts up a larger sense of perspective that gives significance and meaning to our individual lives and relationships. For we too dwell, as young Rebecca in the play reminds us, in “the United States of America…the Earth… the Universe, and the Mind of God.”
Suzanne Sturn has extensive training in both classical Western and Japanese theater and holds both an MFA and Ph.D. in Theatre Arts. She has performed widely both in the Santa Cruz/Monterey region as well as nationally and has taught Theatre Arts at several colleges and universities. In 2016, she presented Rumi on Stage in Santa Cruz, a celebration of the great Sufi poet with music, dance, puppets, and masks. She is offering this production of OUR TOWN, in which she plays the role of Stage Manager, with gender switching casting and a diverse group of local actors.
Tickets: $25 (General Admission); $10 (Students, teachers and anyone with limited income) www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3205509
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