John Prowse photo David Underhill as George Gibbs and Hailey Conner as Emily Webb in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town to be presented in August by Peninsula Productions.

‘Our Town’ to open Peninsula Productions’ revamped White Rock space

Black box theatre in Centennial Park lends itself to experimental production

Our Town is coming to our town this summer.

Thornton Wilder’s ‘meta-theatrical’ classic – exploring life, love and community – will be the inaugural presentation for Peninsula Productions’ newly-revamped ‘black box’ theatre space in White Rock’s Centennial Park, Aug. 9 to 24.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1938 drama tells the story of the fictional American small town of Grover’s Corners between the years 1901 and 1913 from the viewpoint of its citizens.

Through the humour and storytelling ability of Wilder, seemingly commonplace events soon build into a meditation on the very nature of what it means to be alive.

But, as director Rebecca Walters (also Peninsula associate artistic director) relates, although the show is about Grover’s Corners, it is actually set in the theatre in which it takes place – with a stage manager who directly addresses the audience and fills in some roles, and actors who play multiple roles with minimal props on a mostly bare stage.

It’s an ideal first show for the reworked Peninsula space, which lends itself to flexible and experimental productions that emphasize imaginative acting and stagecraft over traditional proscenium arch presentation.

“It starts with an empty stage,” Walters says in the press release for Our Town, “and the stage manager welcoming us and introducing us to the town.

“A few chairs, a couple of ladders, and eight very talented actors, each playing a number of roles, bring this story to life – it’s pretty magical.”

Helping create that magic in the upcoming production will be cast members Colleen Byberg, Hailey Conner, Ryan Kniel, Damion LeClair, Michelle Morris, David Underhill, Katie Voravong, and Elliot Wesley.

Walters says that even today – more than 80 years after its debut in a Princeton, New Jersey theatre – Our Town retains all of its power to engage an audience with universal truths of human experience.

“It’s such a wonderful script,” she says. “It’s funny, and clever, and incredibly moving.

“The story seems really simple, but then it sneaks up on you, and you realize that that’s what life is, a string of small moments, some beautiful, some sad, some overwhelmingly powerful, but mostly simple, and then you get to the end and realize, ‘Oh – that’s my life!’

“We’ve got to remember to appreciate those moments when they’re happening, because it’s all over so fast. Appreciate the time you have, love the people in front of you, nothing is permanent.”

The Peninsula Productions theatre is located in the park (14600 North Bluff Rd.) next to Centennial Arena. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, with 2:30 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com



alexbrowne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New collective debuts with Crescent Beach show

Nela Hallwas and Lyn Verra-Lay team for ‘Flow’

Police ask for help to identify suspect in alleged Surrey break-and-enter

Surrey RCMP say two men ‘kicked down the front door’ of the home

Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

Compared with city’s 2019 weekly average, deepest volume reduction was in late March with up to 46 per cent less vehicles

Art’s Scarecrow Festival to return in September

Sixth annual event will be different than previous events because of the pandemic

‘Lifting Hands’ mural on White Rock wall celebrates community’s COVID efforts

High school students, grads inviting health-care workers, emergency crews to add handprints

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Large missing python found ssssafe in Victoria after being on the lam for weeks

The snake was located more than six kilometres from where it went missing

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

B.C. man who nearly died from COVID-19 reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Man wanted for ramming police car and almost hitting bystanders in Abbotsford

Police say Lorne Guilbault ‘engages in high-risk criminal driving behaviour’

Most Read