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Buskirk-Chumley Theater: Our Town

Thornton Wilder’s durable play "Our Town" is at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre for a short run in a charm filled inaugural production of the Cardinal Stage Company directed by Randy White.

Even before he said a word, the stage manager played by Henry Woronicz was in full control of the evening’s journey. Whether telling us about the town, setting scenes, filling in background or dawning a pair of spectacles as the town druggist or a bowler hat as the village funeral director he was always the most gracious of hosts.

The cast of "Our Town" is an incredibly strong one. There are plenty of credits and degrees among them. Even the youngest children have extensive resumes. Alex Shotts and Anjanette Armstrong were the town’s young lovers, George and Emily. Katherine McDaniel was George’s adoring and adorable younger sister. Mark McIntyre and Diane Kondrat were George’s parents, Dr. and Mrs. Gibbs. Adam Crowe and Greta Lind Pizzo were Emily’s parents, Editor and Mrs. Webb. Justin Robertson and his imaginary horse were their regular morning visitor as the town’s milkman. Civil order in Grover’s Corners was presided over by Strats Stratigos as Constable Warren. Richard Burke was the choir director who’s alcoholism was a secret shared only by the whole community. Ama Boakyewa was the most moved of wedding guests. The morning train whistle, a church organ, distant thunder and even a rooster’s crow were all supplied by Alexander Gulck.

Wilder’s play has plenty of warmth and a good deal of humor, but it is far from being an all "sugar and spice" pastoral. It has its grim moments. Early on we learn that one of the town’s brightest young men will grow up to die in WW I. Childbirth and even life itself is fraught with danger. In turn of the century Grover’s Corners there is a Polish town across the tracks, women’s votes are counted only as they influence their husbands, young girls and young men go into marriage in woefully frightened ignorance. It’s a town that is too small for arts or even artists. "Our Town" is in three brief acts. It opens with a report of a birth, an outline of the town and its residents, moves to the passion of love and marriage and then gracefully wraps things up with the resigned peace and respite of the graves on the hill.

There’s been a good deal of concern in Indiana about the development of incubators to develop and attract businesses. The Cardinal Stage Company’s mission if "the establishment of a professional not-for-profit theatre company in Bloomington. It appears that Bloomington is already both an incubator and a magnet for theatrical talent. It remains to be seen if it can also incubate and attract a big enough audience to support it.

The Cardinal Stage Company’s production of Thornton Wilder’s "Our Town" at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre has final performances this evening and Saturday evening at eight. There is also a two o’clock Saturday matinee.

You can hear an interview with two of the actors on our Arts Interviews page .

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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