Stage Door Productions Our TownBy Laura & Mike Clark • Feb 13th, 2007 • Category: Interviews, Reviews
Listen to our review of Stage Door Productions’ performance of Our Town [MP3 7:13 2.1MB]. We also chat with the President of Stage Door Productions, Charlotte Fields.
Mike: I talked with Charlotte Fields of Stage Door productions. She is Stage Door’s president on their Board of Directors. She also did the costumes for Our Town. We’ve sprinkled her comments throughout our chat about the show.
Charlotte: Our Town is about small town life at the turn of the century. It focuses on two families, the Gibbs and the Webbs. It basically just goes through the lives of these people as they live their everyday existence. It’s a play about joys and sorrows, happiness and malcontent, working hard. It’s just a little snippet of small town life around the turn of the century. That’s what it’s about. It follows the lives of these young people, Emily and George. They are next door neighbors. They go to school together. They then fall in love and eventually marry.
Laura: I’ve not seen Our Town before, although a lot of people have said they did that back in high school. I was pleased with the performance overall. I thought it was very well done. It was a story about any other day back in the life of the turn of the century. It had a down home feel to it and I enjoyed it.
Mike: Our Town was executed with a very simple set which is how it was written by Thornton Wilder. The costumes and acting were very good. There were a few people who were a little nervous; they weren’t quite comfortable with their lines. For the most part the actors did very well with their parts. The show moved along quite well. The show was about two and a half hours long with two intermissions.
Laura: The Stage Manager was played by David Featherston. He was the master of ceremonies throughout the show. He would come on at the beginning and kind of set the stage. He actually had some roles that he played and did a good job with those.
Mike: It was interesting having a cast member of the show named The Stage Manager. He broke out of the fourth wall and talked directly to the audience. He interacted with the audience at one point. That was different and I’m sure when it was written it was very different. He was a minister at one point. He was just a citizen talking with a couple other people in the town. I liked his characterization of the stage manger and the crotchety old farmer/citizen.
The Gibbs family live next door to the Webb family. George Gibbs was a high schooler at the beginning of the show. He was worried about typical high school stuff, the football team and starting to notice girls, things like that. The next door neighbor was Emily and that’s who he noticed. George Gibbs was played by Trevor McFadden. I liked watching the character of George on stage. I liked the emotions that Trevor brought out in the third act of the show. I don’t want to give anything away, but I thought he did a good job with that.
Laura: Next door to the Gibbs family was the Webb family. Emily Webb was played by Rachel Perry. I liked watching her grow up. She was very real in her emotions. I liked the scene especially between her and George when they were studying, supposedly studying, out the window at each other. The dialogue that went on there I really liked that.
Mike: This was a large cast. There were 25-30 people. There was some doubling of roles.
Laura: I liked the costumes for Our Town. The costumes were organized by Charlotte Fields. They were brighter than I was expecting them to be. It helped with the visualization of the show.
Mike: I talked to Charlotte Fields about the costumes for Our Town. It was a very simple set which was how Thornton Wilder had written it. The costumes were really nice actually.
Charlotte: Well thank you.
Mike: You’re welcome. Were there any challenges with the costuming?
Charlotte: Simply that it seems to be a cast of thousands when you’re costuming it. I did all the costumes by myself. I just set out a lot of time about a month ago and started. As soon as they had cast the show I started costuming it. I didn’t wait until the last few weeks as often happens with these kind of shows.
I borrowed some. Our costume closet had some pieces because we had done Music Man several years ago which is the same time period. I was able to use some pieces and mix and match from that show. I borrowed some from a friend, Christine Brandt, who does a lot of dance shows. She has some costumes that I was able to use and then I just made the rest of them.
The costumes for the men at the turn of the century, the 1900’s. Their style was not all that different from what men are wearing today, except for the ties and the hats. Basically the men costumed themselves with the exception of the young men who had knickers. That made that easy. I just supplied the hats and the bow ties and the bits and pieces that they may need to complete their ensemble.
Mike: Thornton Wilder when he wrote the show wanted a very minimal set and minimal of scenery and properties. Almost all of the props were mimed. There were some interesting concepts that were in the script. Such as when George and Emily were studying upstairs and looking and talking with each other through their windows. They actually sat up on the top of step ladders to imply they were up high on the second floor. That actually worked. I thought it would be kind of cheesy, but it actually worked very well.
Laura: Mike wrapped up his interview with Charlotte by asking her about Stage Door Productions.
Mike: How did Stage Door choose this show?
Charlotte: Every year Stage Door does a piece of theater that’s considered a classic. It is something that is taught often in our school systems. Part of our charter is to try to give back to our community. Every year we do a production such as this that is studied in our schools that is to give children and their families an opportunity to see these plays come to life on the stage rather than just to read them in classrooms which can get rather boring. But to see them come to life and learn to appreciate the art form more than just something they have to study in school.
Mike: When and where is Our Town playing?
Charlotte: Our Town is being presented at the Rappahannock Regional Library in the City of Fredericksburg on Caroline Street. It’s at 8 PM on the 9th and 10th, 16th and 17th, and 23rd and 24th of February. Friday and Saturday nights.
Mike: What is your organization’s website?
Charlotte: It’s www.stagedoorproductions.org.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1858.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.