by Bruce Strand, Arts editor
Students from Rogers High School and Middle School celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first production of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” by bringing the Pulitzer Prize-winning play to life on Nov. 1 and 2.
Held at Word of Peace Lutheran Church, the play was the students’ first chance to perform in a three-act play. With no funds in the school district budget for this production, it was produced by the Student Theatrical Arts Association of Rogers and directed by Hope Murray, who volunteered her services.
“I was really pleased with the turnout, especially considering that this had never been done before. and Rogers had an important football game Friday night,” Murray said.
Murray said she expected and got great things from her leads Alexa Gerber (Stage Manager), Tyler Donnay (George Gibbs) and Jordyn Sarvey (Emily Webb), who have all had experience in the one-act plays and musicals.
The cast also included Trenton Wyman (Dr. Gibbs), Hannah Graffunder (Mrs. Gibbs), Drew Jordan (Rebecca Gibbs), Gregory Liberko (Wally Webb), Mikkel Fulkerson (Prof. Willard), Sam Bartz (Mr. Webb), Makayla Speidel (woman in balcony), Mackenzie Speidel (woman in auditorium), Kaylee Tegtmeier (lady in the box), Anfernee Raine (Simon Stimson), Kirsten Seguria (Mrs. Soames), Sarah Miller (Constable Warren), Theresa Ahner (Sarah Crowell), Johnna Kringen (Samantha Craig), Josie Stoddard (Gabby Lien), along with ensemble members Renisa Thielges, Jennifer Eggen, Veronica Porter, Isabell Miller, Alyssa Heute, and Emma Wyman.
“Our Town” explores the lives in a small American town, in three stages: Daily Life, Love and Marriage, and Death and Loss.
In the climactic scene, the village’s dead are seated in chairs, and young wife Emily, after dying in childbirth, joins her mother and the others. Emily returns briefly to life at the occasion of her 12th birthday, but finds everything too beautiful, too emotionally intense, and returns to the numbing comfort of the grave.