2006-2007

After 25 Years, WPI's Theatre Group To Revisit Thornton Wilder's Classic Play Our Town

WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester Polytechnic Institute's theatre group Masque will present Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Our Town on Nov. 16, 17, and 18. The play will be presented at 8 p.m. each day in WPI's Little Theatre, located in Sanford Riley Hall.

WPI first staged Our Town 25 years ago. It was the first WPI production directed by Susan Vick, professor of drama/theatre and director of theatre at WPI. Vick, who will also direct the 2006 production, says she chose to revisit the play because of her ongoing interest in how great works of dramatic literature are re-interpreted by new generations of theatre practitioners.

In 1981, Vick and her students built a theatre in the round within the great hall of Alden Memorial to create an intimate theatre experience suitable for this powerful drama. The new production will take place in the Little Theatre, a 99-seat theatre that opened a year ago as WPI's first dedicated theatre facility. Working in this space will help student performers, designers, and technicians "learn how to both simplify and expand ideas in the intimacy of the theatre," Vick says.

Our Town is one of the most frequently produced plays by an American playwright. Set in the fictional community of Grover's Corners, the play is modeled on several New Hampshire towns in the Mt. Monadnock region. It details the everyday interactions between citizens of a typical small town in the early 20th century -- particularly the lives of George Gibbs, a doctor's son, and Emily Webb, the daughter of a newspaper editor.

Masque, which is among WPI's oldest student organizations, is one of several theatre groups at the university. M.W. Repertory Company, Sunburns Theatre (summer theatre), and Student Comedy Productions (improvisational comedy troupes) bring the WPI community about eight productions a year. In addition, New Voices, begun in 1982, is an annual festival of new plays written, directed, and performed by members of the WPI community.

Admission to Our Town is $5. Ticket reservations will be accepted starting Thursday, Nov. 9, by telephone through the Little Theatre Reservation Line, 508-831-6407, or via e-mail at little.theatre.reservation.line@gmail.com.

November 9, 2006