MSHS presents a unique staging of “Our Town”

The+cast+of+Our+Town+take+a+bow+after+the+student+matinee+performance+on+Thursday%2C+November+4.++The+performance+was+the+first+student+matinee+for+several+years+and+was+well+received.

Serena Holvenstot

The cast of Our Town take a bow after the student matinee performance on Thursday, November 4. The performance was the first student matinee for several years and was well received.

Serena Holvenstot, Reporter

The cast and crew of Manitou Springs High School’s fall play, “Our Town,” created a unique staging for friends and family on Nov. 4 through Nov. 6 in the MSSD14 Auditorium.

The play “Our Town” is out of the ordinary. With minimal props, it changes the way the watchers perceive the play. Even with the lack of props, this play still told a meaningful story.

“I wanted it to be a reminder to stop and take time to appreciate the people around you and your situations, and that came directly from looking at last year and COVID and all we lost and all we missed. It just seemed like the right time to do this play,” director Wendy Harms said. “It’s a play that I’ve done before; and it’s a play that I love and teach my class every single year, so it just felt right.”

This play is a hit in the theatre world and one that many performers love, so Harms added her twist to make sure the audience could better connect to the actors.
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“Typically this show is done in the style of proscenium theatre, which is what Manitou’s stage is and the style in which the show was written; however, we attempted arena theatre which was slightly more difficult, but gave the show a more intimate feel,” Nicole Wickes (11) said. Wickes played a lead role of Emily and designed costumes in the production.

Because of this unique aspect, it prompted the actors to change the way they had to think about blocking and how to speak to the audience. Changing the actors’ way of thinking wasn’t the only reason why arena theatre was chosen.

“We made the decision to put the audience on the stage because this piece was very intimate, and we wanted to give the audience an experience that they could feel like they were a part of,” Henry White (12), who played Mr. Webb, said. “I wanted the audience to get an experience that would make them feel emotions that they may have forgotten about or didn’t really appreciate in the moment.”

Because this play was very philosophical, it helped to open the audience’s mind up.

“We did it deliberately, and that was to challenge ourselves; but also to challenge our actors, and to give the audience a new way to think about things,” Harms said.