Editor's note: The Somerset High School production of "Our Town" has been canceled. The Star-Observer is running this story to recognize the work of the students involved.
SOMERSET -- Somerset High School students came together to prepare a production of Thornton Wilder's “Our Town” for the year's spring play. The production won't happen because school was cancellations due to COVID-19, but the young actors learned plenty from their rehearsals.
The play follows the town of Grover’s Corner in the early 20th century. The plot follows daily life, love and marriage, and death, led by the character of the Stage Manager.
Director Becky Olson said she struggled to pick this year’s play. “Our Town” had always been on her list, and now it feels they were mean to do it.
“With everything that’s going on in our world, we need to express gratitude, feel gratitude,” she said.
While she was preparing for the production earlier this year, Olson’s father passed away.
“It made it very clear why we needed to do this play,” she said.
The story reminds people to appreciate everything in life. This became a learning opportunity for Olson and the students.
“Birth is to be celebrated, life is to be celebrated and death is to be celebrated,” she said.
Somerset High School's “Our Town” would have featured two casts, with about 30 total members.
Senior Madelyn Hohler was cast as the Stage Manager, who reminds her of Rod Serling in the classic "The Twilight Zone" TV series. The character is matter of fact, something she said she can easily portray.
The play is something everyone can relate to, she said.
“It’s very realistic to everyday life,” Hohler said.
Hohler said she enjoys that theater gives a break from everything else in her life and allows her to breathe.
Senior Phoebe Dunleap was cast as Wally and Si. The play is awesome, she said, though she was nervous about playing two characters.
Dunleap appeared in four productions at the high school. She enjoyed saying her lines and being with her friends in theater.
Senior Moriah Everson played Howie Newsome and a pallbearer. She likes that Howie is a happy, chirpy guy. Everson said the play sends a message to the audience.
“For me it’s enjoy life while you still have life,” she said.
Everson has been in about eight plays. She said she enjoys theater because it allows her to release her fun side. It also helps her make new friends.
Senior Jack Schottler was cast as Dr. Gibbs, a father figure who is there to give paternal advice. Schottler likes that the play was written to send a message.
“It has no fluff,” he said.
Schlotter appeared in three shows.
“I’ve kind of always been all about putting on a show and theater is a way to do that without getting yelled at,” he said.