Director Murray Chase calls Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” a “darn near perfect” play.
“I could do this play a dozen times and still find something new in the script,” said Chase, who helps mark the 75th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic by staging a new production for Venice Theatre’s Stage II series, opening tonight.
The play has become a staple in professional, educational and community theaters, and is said to be performed at least once each night somewhere in the world.
That’s because audiences still relate to its story about the everyday lives of members of the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, N.H.
The play is divided into three acts and focuses on the Webb and Gibbs families, especially the developing relationship between the young Emily Webb and George Gibbs.
“Our Town” pushes the audience to “grab every moment of life we can,” Chase said. “That is essential” as life’s many distractions take us away from what is important.
Chase is directing “Our Town” for the third time and said it is important to maintain the simplicity of the play. He hopes to bring people even more into the story by placing some of the actors in the audience for part of the show.
Venice Theatre’s production features Kenzie Balliet and Zachary Evanicki as Emily and George and Daniel Greene as the Stage Manager, who narrates and leads audiences through the story. The large cast also includes Kristi Hibschman, Greg Courter, Laurie Colton, Steve Horowitz, Grace Wickerson, Morgan Guin and Travis Rose.
“Our Town” opens at 7:30 p.m. today and runs through March 30 at the Venice Theatre, 140 W. Tampa Ave. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $25-28 for adults, $13-15 for students. For more information: 488-1115; venicestage.com.