On Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Texarkana Independent School District will host the American Shakespeare Center (ASC) 2016/17 Hungry Hearts Tour production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.
The performance will be held in the Sullivan Performing Arts Center & John Thomas Theatre, 3941 Summerhill Road. Doors open and pre-show music begins at 6:30 p.m. with the performance beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 and available for purchase at the Texarkana Independent School District Administrative Office, 4241 Summerhill Road, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying.” A moving look at life in the small town of Grover’s Corners, Our Town examines what it means to grow up. Through three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Dying,” Thornton Wilder studies the deeply personal yet remarkably universal lives of the Webb and Gibbs families. This poignant American tale explores friendship, love and death, but importantly, what it truly means to live.
The American Shakespeare Center brings a unique performance style to the John Thomas Theatre, blending Shakespeare’s stage craft with modern sensibility. The company uses Shakespeare’s staging conditions including universal lighting, minimal sets, doubling and music. In Shakespeare’s day, the company couldn’t turn the lights out on the audience; actors and audience shared the same light. The Hungry Hearts Tour leaves the lights on for a type of audience contact rarely seen in modern day theatre. Audience members share directly in the action onstage as they become citizens of Grover’s Corners in Our Town.
While Wilder’s play is a classic slice of Americana, it is hardly a sentimentalized ideal. For Our Town director (and ASC artistic director) Jim Warren, the play “is about our lives – right here, right now. It asks us to look at our own lives. It reminds us that each day matters.” Our Town investigates the complex underpinnings of deceptively simple lives.
The special performance from American Shakespeare Center is funded through the generosity of an anonymous donor from Bancorp South along with the support of the Texas High School Tiger Theatre Company and Tiger Theatre Booster Club.
The 2016/17 Hungry Hearts production of Our Town features Constance Swain as Emily, and returning ASC tour actors Andrew Goldwasser as Stage Manager and Ross Neal as George. Other returning actors from the 2015/16 Dangerous Dreams Tour are Cordell Cole, Aleca Piper and Zoe Speas. Rounding out the cast are Josh Clask, Sara J. Griffin, J.C. Long, Kyle Powell and Ronald Roman.
Since 1988, the American Shakespeare Center has toured the country with shows incorporating Shakespeare’s staging conditions. Based out of Staunton, VA, the company mission is to recover the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. The ASC’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, is open year-round for productions of classic plays, which have been hailed by The Washington Post as “shamelessly entertaining” and by The Boston Globe as “phenomenal…bursting with energy.” Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at www.americanshakespearecenter.com.