Theater students attract crowds to “their town”

by Krystyn Bristol

The students of Rio Hondo’s performing arts department presented the 1938 Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Our Town” to several maximum capacity crowds in the Campus Inn this past weekend.
Written by Thornton Wilder, “Our Town” features a large cast of individuals who live in Grovers Corners, New Hampshire in the very early 1900s. Led and narrated by the Stage Manager, played by one of Rio Hondo’s very own chemistry professors, Matt Koutroulis, the story follows the families of Emily Webb, played by Alex DeLiso-Smith and George Gibbs, played by Elijah Avery, some of the many towns people.
The opening scene features Koutroulis, who introduces the critical details of Grovers Corners, including the setting, daily routines, and little character analysis. Throughout the course of the two-hour play, the stage is largely empty and cast members pantomime their actions to create imaginative imagery for the audience.
Not only were the set and props minor and simplified, there was also absolutely no pre-recorded audio played throughout the performance. The “town people” of Grovers Corners physically created every sound effect, ranging from raindrops pattering on the floorboards to a crow cawing in the early morning.
The bold, visual eloquence that director Bill Korf and assistant stage managers Michael Garcia and Rocky Graham portrayed on the Campus Inn stage is undeniably fantastic.
Garcia not only co-stage-managed the production, but he also took on the role of Professor Willard.
When asked about the challenges of being an on stage and off stage contributor, Garcia replied, “It was weird because as an actor, you know that it’s your responsibility to worry about yourself, but when you’re an assistant stage manager, you have to focus on the entire cast as a whole, which can be challenging.”
Along with the performers of the theater 170 course, the 150 and 151 students, led by Kerry Farmer, set designer, additionally contributed heavily to the successful production of “Our Town”, along with all other technical and design managers.
Rio’s theater students and faculty revived every aspect of Grovers Corners in the production and left the audience members in awe.
“I’ve been to many, many plays on campus, but this one was by far one of the best,” said audience member Daniel Garcia, Rio Hondo alumni and former theater student.
Though “Our Town” is a very commonly re-produced play across the nation, this specific production by Rio Hondo’s students thrived on their tedious dedication from the very well casted group of individuals and a passionate crew who implemented emotion and raw talent on stage.

People of the town feel sympathy for Mrs. Soames (Lindsey Castellanos) as she cries tears of happiness in the wedding scene.
People of the town feel sympathy for Mrs. Soames (Lindsey Castellanos) as she cries tears of happiness in the wedding scene.