HHS prepares upcoming dramatic production

The ladders are symbolic to the show. as well as a full moon.

“You’ve got to love life to have life, and you’ve got to have life to love life.”

There are many experiences people have in life, and it is up to us to decide what to do with that time. This is one of the aspects that can be vividly portrayed in the theatre production, Our Town. On March 7, 8, and 9 at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday in the HHS auditorium, the performing arts department is producing this heartfelt realistic show for all to experience.

“I have always loved the story, and it is a classic piece of literature,” drama teacher and director, Ms. Amanda Malo, says. “It is right up there with some of the great dramatic pieces.”

Our Town is centrally about the story of George and Emily Gibbs who live in a small town, and are two people who grew up with each other. It shows their journey by starting out as friends, to falling in love, to getting married, and to the ultimate end. Along the road, a character named “stage manager” is narrating the story, their lives, and being a part of the town.

Ms. Malo has technically been preparing for this show her entire life, but only recently received the experience and wisdom that she needed to completely dive into what the show really needed.

“I always knew I wanted to do Our Town, but I never felt ready to do Our Town,” Ms. Malo says. “I think I am at a part in my life now where I am prepared to direct it. I don’t think I could have done this ten years ago, to be honest with you.”

Sophomores Drew Laughner and Bridget Wilkin play the roles of George and Emily, and junior Maggie Grace plays the stage manager. They all came into the show in their own way, and couldn’t wait to be a part of it.

“I saw this play a couple years ago, and it immediately hit me,” Grace says. “I think everyone in his or her lifetime should see or read the play at least once. It’s just very touching and a very down-to-earth play, so when I knew we were putting this on, I was like, I have to audition.”

As for Grace and Laughner, they were both in HHS’s Footloose, but he actually decided to audition for Our Town because Grace persuaded him. When he got the part, he was extremely glad that she pushed him.

“I like the cast and play a lot because it’s really simple opposed to Footloose, which I was just in. I just like how it’s so simple.”

Unlike her fellow cast members, Wilkin was not in Footloose, but was in plenty of CTH (Community Theater of Howell) shows. It was when she discovered Our Town that she wanted to take part in the school’s production.

“I wanted to be in Our Town because I love the drama department at Howell High School,” Wilkin says. “I didn’t really know much about the play itself, so coming into this would be a great experience to learn how to build character and to start from scratch. So far it’s a wonderful experience,” Wilkin says.

The unique quality about the show is that there are no set pieces or vivid scenery, so the stage manager creates the story in the audience’s mind. Grace describes the role as “god-like” and “the creator.” This allows the audience to focus on the characters and storyline more, and it is intriguing for even the cast members.

“Coming from such a huge cast in Footloose, this is such a family-oriented show. It’s all about the family, a very small cast, and we get this opportunity to really get to know each other,” Grace says. “We get to look at these relationships and everything that happens in such a small town environment that it’s a really good chance to get close to a bunch of people.”

When relationships bond throughout the show, they not only get closer with their characters, but Wilkin vouches that the cast gets closer in real life, as well.

“Drew and I originally met at Drama Day at EMU earlier in the year, so we knew we worked well together. We knew we could play off of each other’s characters. Joining this cast has gotten us to be closer as friends,” Wilkin says.

Although their hopes are high, these leads are unsure of how the audience will react to this production considering how successful and popular Footloose was.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Laughner says. “Because Footloose was obviously a huge show, I’m not sure if they are expecting that again, which it’s not Footloose at all.”

Wilkon also is hoping for a respectable outcome, and wants the audience to leave with a fresh perspective on how to treat the life they have.

“I just really hope a lot of people come out to see this because it really hits on day to day life, something to really connect to. It hits on the hard topic of death, and how people deal with it and how life is a beautiful thing that your need to cherish while you have it,” Wilkin says.

Despite it not being as grand, that does not draw any negativity toward this show. It is true that it is entirely different, but just as fantastic all the same. Ms. Malo has seen taped versions of the show, and has been long since she had seen it live. Her Advanced Drama class had performed scenes from the show, which Ms. Malo produced. So, she has had bits of experience with it, but finally is ready to promote the entire story.

“I’ve been teaching longer, I’m married, I have a child now, and I just think the older you get, the more experience and perspective you can bring to the piece.”

Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for students and seniors if bought ahead of time. They are $1 more at the door, but all worth the price.

“One of the most famous quotes from our play that we like is, ‘You’ve got to love life to have life to love life.’ And that’s just powerful. It’s just a powerful show. I hope that everyone that comes out to see it, that it touches them and they rethink their life and the little things that go into it because I believe that this show has the power to do that.”