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Our Town is a hit


July 28, 2019
By Anne Michael , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Director Mary Fasse-Shaw and tech director Jeff Shaw deserve kudos for the hours and effort they put forth. Those hours and effort paid off in a big way because Our Town was an excellent production. For Mary Fasse-Shaw, a play is not confined to the stage area. Her actors entered walking down the aisles, sat on the stage steps, sat with the audience on the main floor and with the audience in the balcony. Her audience had a theater experience that literally surrounded them.

And being surrounded by this production was a marvelous experience. It all went together seamlessly - the lights, the sound effects, the thematic slide shows, the costumes, the make-up, the props - all took us into the world of Grovers Corner.

And then there were the actors who kept us in that world. From the principles with their strong performances to those with smaller parts, the acting was excellent. Stanislavsky said that there are no small roles - only small actors. In this introduction even the actors in small roles made their time on stage sparkle.

Article Photos

Mary Fasse-Shaw, the director, and her husband, Jeff Shaw, the technical director, are recognized by the cast at the end of the production on the Wieting stage.
Photo/Charles Betz

There were many wonderful moments in this play That sweet moment when Emily and George touch for the first time as they take each others' hands - such a light touch but it proclaimed such a deep love. When Ditzy Professor Willard takes the stage, she warms the audience into their first bout of laughter.

But perhaps the most powerful moment belongs to Nate Shepherd as the stage manager. Toward the close of the play in one of his final speeches, he literally transfixed his audience, giving credence to the expression "you could hear a pin drop " His character talks to the audience about eternity. He tells them that we all know there is something that transcends death - something eternal and that each of us, in some part of our consciousness know this is true. In that speech and at that moment, he had more than his audience's attention - he had their minds and hearts. You could hear a pin drop. That is acting at its finest.

What a wonderful way to bring live theater back to the Wieting. Our Town is a tribute to the directors, crew and cast. It is a tribute to this much loved theatre. It is a tribute to this community who brought the Wieting back to its true beauty and back to its true purpose. Ella Wieting would have been very proud.



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