Classic look at life

‘Our Town’ brings together
community theater, students

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(January 2010) – The Madison Consolidated High School theater program and the community theater group Spectrum Productions have joined in an exciting collaboration to present Thornton Wilder’s play, “Our Town.” Cast and crew have been hard at work since the start of November to bring the production to life.
Aaron Kelsey, MCHS theater director, explains that the selection of play saying, “It is a Valentine to the simpler times of the early 20th century and a commentary on life and what we do with it. I felt ‘Our Town’ was a good dramatic selection for my students and program, and a classic theater piece.”
“Our Town” will be performed at the Madison Consolidated High School at 7 p.m. on the weekends of Jan. 29-30 and Feb. 5-6. Matinée performances will take place at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 31 and Feb. 7. Tickets will be available starting Jan. 11 at River Valley Financial bank, and one week before performances at the MCHS box office. Ticket prices are $8 for adults and $5 for students.
“Our Town” examines everyday life of an American family, focusing more on characters and relationships than props and scenery. Director and Spectrum board member Stephanie Hellman describes the play saying, “It’s a basic piece about life; everybody’s life. You’ll see yourself in there.”
While the play is set in New England, Hellman believes that the real setting is “wherever you feel you can say, ‘that’s my town.’ ”
She says the play works well with the sense of community spirit highlighted during the Madison Bicentennial celebration. Hellman says that, “It’s really nice that we’re doing this with the high school – it’s a wonderful way to start thinking about life in general and your place in the world.”
The production brings together the talents of two experienced theater programs. Spectrum Productions was founded in 1998 and ran four shows a year through 2002. Last year, many of the founding members reunited to perform “Kitchen Witches,” and the group is once again planning an active schedule.
Kelsey, 31, will be celebrating his 25th show with Madison High School in April with the production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” “We are combining our high school theater program with the community theater – Spectrum – in order to learn from one another and to present these rich characters in the most appropriate way,” Kelsey said.
By drawing from the pool of talent at both the high school and the community at large, Hellman was able to cast actors in roles that matched their own ages and “not cast high school students to play old people.” Nearly 50 people are lending their talents the production.
Kelsey believes that the experience working with Spectrum Productions will help students realize that theater involvement is not limited to school plays. “We get to learn from seasoned actors in the community, students can see that being a thespian is a lifelong opportunity,” Kelsey said.
Hellman agrees and explains that Spectrum is hoping to form long term relationships with the students and that they will see that being active in the theater is something that they can continue long after graduation.
Hellman says that Spectrum is constantly looking for more people to get involved in theater productions. “We need all kinds of talents, not just people on stage. There’s a lot of things that go into putting on a play.”
Hellman points out that it is always thrilling for people to discover abilities in themselves and friends that they never knew were there. She believes that community theater “Gives people a chance to try something new. You’ll be amazed at the talents.” Encouraging people to take part in local plays she says, “We’ll find a spot for you somewhere. I think it’s the most fun thing you can do.”

• For more information on Spectrum Productions, call Stephanie Hellman at (812) 701-3028. For ticket information, call MCHS at (812) 265-6672.

Back to January 2010 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta