By Thornton Wilder
Directed by Michael Ewing
November 18-21, 2013 at 7:30pm
A classic of American theatre, Our Town employs the seemingly simple conceit of ‘life in a small town’ to explore myriad universal themes: love and marriage, life and death, community and isolation, among others. While often characterized as a “sweet” or “safe” play – its spare staging requirements make it popular with schools and community theatres – Our Town has a dark side as well. Emily Webb marvels, “Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anyone to realize you,” while the tragic Simon Stimson counters, “That’s what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance… Ignorance and blindness.” Death, Our Town reminds us, is as much a part of daily life as the paper boy, the milkman, and the mothers readying their children for school. And while death is inevitable, it need not be frighten us if we overcome our ignorance and open our eyes to life’s humble wonders. In scene after simple scene Thornton Wilder presents our most mundane, diurnal tasks as not merely important, but sacred. Life is not always easy, but its joys – its wonders – far outweigh its sorrows. To ignore that is the real tragedy.
* For mature audiences only *
By The United States Theatre Project.
Written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli.
Dramaturgy by Patricia Hersch.
Conceived by PJ Paparelli
Directed by Dr. Noah Lelek
April 20-24, 2014 at 7:30pm
A play sparked by the April 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., is a meeting of fact and fiction that illuminates the realities of adolescent culture by exploring the events surrounding the shootings. The play weaves together excerpts from discussions with parents, survivors and community leaders in Littleton as well as police evidence to bring to light the dark recesses of American adolescence. When columbinus premiered in 2005 at the Round House Theatre, Peter Marks of the Washington Post called it, “An ambitious examination of the suburbanization of evil,” and the play went on to receive five Helen Hayes Award nominations including the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play. Following the off-Broadway opening at New York Theatre Workshop one year later, Variety proclaimed: “This one comes straight from the gut—a wrenching return to the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in which 12 students and a teacher were killed when two senior classmates went on a shooting rampage. The United States Theatre Project’s smart and sensitive treatment of the event, which traumatized a suburban Colorado community and shocked the entire country, stirs up thought and feeling in this clean ensemble production, drawn from interviews, public records and the private diaries of the shooters.”