Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Town by Thornton Wilder

By Joe Straw 

“Our Town” written by Thornton Wilder produced by The Actors Gang in Culver City is a stunning production!

Directed by Justin Zsebe, this rich and exciting production is imaginative, detailed and so meticulous in action that Zsebe leaves no stone unturned.

One need not look any further than Culver City, your backyard, to find one of the most professional productions of “Our Town” presented anywhere. If you have not seen this show, go! And if you have seen it you will be surprised by a new interpretation by this accomplished cast and crew.

The acting was superb! Vanessa Mizzone (Emily Webb) is wonderful and brings forth the emotional energy from that period. Chris Schultz (George Gibbs) take us on his journey that is hard to forget. Scott Harris is outstanding as Professor Willard and equally good in other supporting roles. Barry O' Neil brings everything to the table as another great supporting player. Just the little touches that bring a warmth and humor to the characters. Very imaginative.

Pierre Adeli as the milkman Howie Newsom appears to bring a horse on stage and has an interesting relationship with Mrs Gibbs (Annemette Andersen) than with her counterpart Mrs Webb (Lindsley Allen). All were fun to watch.
It's not hard to see the actors in this production putting in major effort and energy to make this a spectacular show. Hats off to Seth Compton (Wally Webb) April Fitzsimmons (Mrs Soames) Nathan Kornelis (Dr. Gibbs) and Andrew E. Wheeler (Mr. Webb) for bringing an undeniable truth to this production.

Katie Malia as Rebecca Gibbs does something I don't think I've ever seen in a production of "Our Town."

Brian Kimmet does a nice comedic turn as Simon Stimson, a man with a "problem". It is a pity no one takes the time to help him.

And Steven M. Porter as the Stage Manager was so at ease in this role one would think he was made to play this role. His colorful guidance led us from birth to love to death magnificently.

Meticulous in details and craft, The Actors Gang members were seen in the wings, giving support to members on stage with sound effects, milk bottle sounds, horse walks, baseball, and chickens sounds. All the more enjoyable.
This production is engaging from start to finish.

Life starts small and what better place to start than in Grover Corner New Hampshire the setting of our play. We arrive, we live, we die and those are without question the highlights of our lives. But there’s much more here than what meets the eye. Because even in our mundane moments we go about life missing the moments we should be celebrating… because life is a celebration.

Suzanne Scott did a remarkable job as costume designer. It is a traditional interpretation with costumes from the period.

The crew includes rigger Adam Jefferies who has done a astonishing job with the stunning eye opening third act. It is an achievement that is not to be missed. The Ivy Substation is a grand equity waiver theatre and has enough room to accomplish these feats.

Going back home to "Our Town" after being away has a rejuvenation effect. It restores, like a breath of fresh air, the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. And although you want to absorb all that is around you, in the end you must move on. "Our Town" wants you to see the moments.

Performances: May 2 - June 6

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