Breaking News Bar
posted: 9/18/2017 3:18 PM

Elgin-based Independent Players opens 40th season with 'Our Town'

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Alan Bolds tells stories of old baseball players to Steve Delaney and his son Aaron Delaney in a scene from Independent Players' production of "Our Town," which opens Friday, Sept. 22, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Elgin Art Showcase.

    Alan Bolds tells stories of old baseball players to Steve Delaney and his son Aaron Delaney in a scene from Independent Players' production of "Our Town," which opens Friday, Sept. 22, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Elgin Art Showcase.
    Courtesy of Independent Players

  • Cynthia Bolds, Mary Kirkman and JoAnn Smith discuss town gossip while rehearsing a scene from Independent Players' production of "Our Town," which opens Friday, Sept. 22, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Elgin Art Showcase.

    Cynthia Bolds, Mary Kirkman and JoAnn Smith discuss town gossip while rehearsing a scene from Independent Players' production of "Our Town," which opens Friday, Sept. 22, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Elgin Art Showcase.
    Courtesy of Independent Players

 
 

According to Don Haefliger, artistic director of Elgin-based Independent Players, Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" has been on the company's "to do" list for years.

The company can soon check it off the list, as "Our Town" will open Independent Players' 40th season.

The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, and performances continue on Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 7 at the Elgin Art Showcase, 164 Division St. Tickets are $15; $12 for seniors age 65 and older; and $10 for students ages 14-21.

"Our Town" tells the story of the fictional American town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, between 1901 and 1913 through the everyday lives of its citizens. Wilder creates an allegorical world which essentially represents the universality of human existence.

The play is directed by Larry Boller of Elgin. A veteran of theater, Boller directed his first play in 1976 and has been involved with Independent Players since the early 1990s. "Our Town" will be the 16th show Boller has directed for IP.

"I was the one who suggested our doing 'Our Town' this fall," Boller said. "It is a classic that portrays what we all have in common. People need that now, and the play is sweet, funny and touching. And Don (Haefliger) thought it was a perfect choice for IP's 40th season."

Boller explained the casting process for the play.

"Although I did audition interested actors, meeting with them at the library one-on-one for a couple of weeks, I cast the rest from among those I had known or had been recommended," Boller said.

"For example, I had acted with Gabor Mark, JoAnn Smith, and Mary Kirkman. I had directed both Steve Delaney and Richard Helland in 'Wait Until Dark' for Elgin Theatre Company. I knew Paul Anderson from Steel Beam and Cindy and Alan Bolds from Wheaton Drama."

Although the cast has been rehearsing since August, this is the first week they'll be able to rehearse at Elgin Art Showcase, Boller said.

"Many times, theater companies don't really get to work at the actual performance space until the final week, and IP is no exception."

Boller spoke highly of the cast and crew of "Our Town."

"It has been very rewarding to work with this warm, friendly cast in general, and especially to witness the brilliant work of our narrator Chris Williams, called the stage manager in this play, even after he was injured walking his dog and was reduced to hobbling around on crutches. He's just very good. I am lucky to have him.

Asked what he thought audiences would enjoy most about the show, Boller said, "I think the audience will especially love the romance between George Gibbs and Emily Webb (played by Alex Small and Emily A. Beck) and share their awkward teenage love interest. I also think they will be charmed by Chris Williams and his storytelling ability. What a charmer!"

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.