Our Town in... our town

YOUR PLACE: Rising star in the Gisborne theatre scene, Will Toon as George Gibbs (left), Hugo McGuinness as Doc Gibbs, Jo Noble (Mrs Gibbs) and Maia Ingoe (Emily Webb) hit their marks during rehearsals for Evolution Theatre Company’s first production, Our Town. Picture supplied
THAT WEBB GIRL: Maia Ingoe plays Emily Webb in Evolution Theatre Company’s first production, Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town which opens tomorrow. Picture supplied

Gisborne’s newest community theatre company is moving into production week for its first show, Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer prize-winning Our Town.

The play is set in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. Evolution Theatre Company’s managing artistic director Dinna Myers had hoped to localise the setting but could not get permission. The actors will keep their Kiwi accents though.

“I chose Our Town for our first production because I wanted to make a connection with the community. The play, and production, is a statement about our town and how we’re all interconnected,” says Myers.

“Gisborne is like America was before it grew out of control.”

Our Town is set in the actual theatre where the play is performed, but the year is always 1938. Our Town character, the Stage Manager (Julie McPhail) introduces the play-within-the-play. She directly addresses the audience, brings in guest lecturers, fields questions from the audience, and fills in playing some of the roles.

“Julie could have a career on the stage if she wanted,” says Myers.

“Our actors are really strong in their characters. Thornton Wilder is certainly not unclear about who these characters are.”

To help her cast locate their characters, and connect with other characters in performance, Myers asked her actors to do a little homework. She had them write backstories for their characters. This included their social and financial status, how their characters relate to other characters.

The set is minimal and actors mostly mime actions without the use of props. Wilder wanted to avoid the trappings of the theatre and have audiences use their imaginations, says Myers.

Matt Hatten, a regular face in Gisborne’s theatre scene, took on the role of (real life) set designer.“He’s looking to have a career in theatre,” says Myers. “He wants to grow his experience. That’s our role — to grow artists.”

Evolution Theatre Company presents Our Town, 75 Disraeli Street, October 12-27 at 7.30pm with 2pm matinee performances on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets: Adults $32, youth (17 and under) $22. For more information and to book online, go to https://www.evolutiontheatre.org.nz/our-town.

Gisborne’s newest community theatre company is moving into production week for its first show, Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer prize-winning Our Town.

The play is set in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. Evolution Theatre Company’s managing artistic director Dinna Myers had hoped to localise the setting but could not get permission. The actors will keep their Kiwi accents though.

“I chose Our Town for our first production because I wanted to make a connection with the community. The play, and production, is a statement about our town and how we’re all interconnected,” says Myers.

“Gisborne is like America was before it grew out of control.”

Our Town is set in the actual theatre where the play is performed, but the year is always 1938. Our Town character, the Stage Manager (Julie McPhail) introduces the play-within-the-play. She directly addresses the audience, brings in guest lecturers, fields questions from the audience, and fills in playing some of the roles.

“Julie could have a career on the stage if she wanted,” says Myers.

“Our actors are really strong in their characters. Thornton Wilder is certainly not unclear about who these characters are.”

To help her cast locate their characters, and connect with other characters in performance, Myers asked her actors to do a little homework. She had them write backstories for their characters. This included their social and financial status, how their characters relate to other characters.

The set is minimal and actors mostly mime actions without the use of props. Wilder wanted to avoid the trappings of the theatre and have audiences use their imaginations, says Myers.

Matt Hatten, a regular face in Gisborne’s theatre scene, took on the role of (real life) set designer.“He’s looking to have a career in theatre,” says Myers. “He wants to grow his experience. That’s our role — to grow artists.”

Evolution Theatre Company presents Our Town, 75 Disraeli Street, October 12-27 at 7.30pm with 2pm matinee performances on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets: Adults $32, youth (17 and under) $22. For more information and to book online, go to https://www.evolutiontheatre.org.nz/our-town.

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