CAMDEN – Written in New Jersey, Thorton Wilder’s Our Town will be staged during its 75th anniversary with a Rutgers–Camden performance enhanced by filmic elements Nov. 1-11.
Directed by Paul Bernstein, an associate professor of theater at Rutgers–Camden, the play will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, Friday, Nov. 2, Saturday, Nov. 3, Thursday, Nov. 8, Friday, Nov. 9, and Saturday, Nov. 10; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 and Sunday, Nov. 11.
Set in fictional Grover's Corners, the play’s narrator directly addresses the audience about the existence of characters that span the first decade of the 20th century. According to Bernstein, the narration in his Rutgers–Camden production is heightened with innovative multimedia design.
“We’ve taken a play that already has a cosmic charm one step farther,” says Bernstein of longtime video and sound collaborators Robert A. Emmons, Jr. and Stefan Orn Arnarson. “The omniscient narration now comes from a celestial force through projection onto floors and large screens. For people who haven’t seen a multimedia adventure like ours, it’s quite an eye-opener as well as a more accessible way into theater.”
This summer Bernstein presented his research at the Thornton Wilder Society in San Francisco, including video excerpts of a Rutgers–Camden performance he directed based on Wilder’s Pullman Car Hiawatha. “I’ve always like Wilder’s work,” says Bernstein. “He was so experimental way before his time.”
Bernstein first conceived of staging Our Town at Rutgers–Camden when he moved to Lawrenceville, where Wilder is said to have written the play after being inspired by a Moorestown wedding.
Rutgers–Camden students and the public will be able to learn more about the 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright during a free live Skype lecture by his nephew Tappan Wilder, head of the Thornton Wilder Society, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in room 110 of the Fine Arts Complex at Rutgers–Camden.
The Our Town cast includes current Rutgers–Camden students and alumni with senior Cooper Gorelick, who was recently honored by the National Playwriting Program at the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival, as the Stage Manager (CHERRY HILL).
The cast also includes Chris Adams (BURLINGTON); Jay Ballard (GLASSBORO); Jesus Benitez (NEWARK); Tiara DeGuzman (CHERRY HILL); Jake Hufner (HADDON HEIGHTS); Michael Hess (LAUREL SPRINGS); Kyle Jakubowski (AUDUBON); Rich Lanci (WESTMONT); Sean Lynch (OAKLYN); Tom Milicia (MT. ARLINGTON); Angelyce Purnell (ELKINS PARK); Sean Quinn (SANTA CLARITA, CA); Alex Scheinberg (COLLINGSWOOD); Ann Strzelczyk (MEDFORD); Ashley Thornton (GLASSBORO); and John Tomko (BERLIN). The play’s scenic design is by James Mobley.
Sponsored by the Department of Fine Arts, the student production will be held in the Gordon Theater, located in the Fine Arts Complex on Third Street, between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the Rutgers–Camden campus.
Tickets for general admission are $10. The performance is free for Rutgers students and $5 for all other students. For more information, call (856) 225-6176.
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Media Contact: Cathy K. Donovan