Veteran Theater Director Aims to Give the Production of “Our Town” an Unexpected Twist

Lucy Bell, Photographer and Student Reporter

After months of planning and rehearsing, the Marshall University School of Theater is ready to bring the audience to Grover’s Corners with their production of “Our Town” opening on Wednesday, Nov. 9. 

The play will run from Nov. 9-12 and Nov. 16-19 with nightly showings at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Nov. 12, they will also feature a 2:00 p.m. matinee. 

The production is directed by Marshall theater professor Jack Cirillo, who has directed university plays for almost 25 years. “Our Town” is a simplistic play in terms of set design and costuming, giving the actors a chance to really showcase their skills to bring the play to life, according to Cirillo. 

“One of the tenants of the piece is that it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles,” Cirillo said. “It is classic storytelling, so the actors get to rely on themselves and their own creativity. In a way, it reinforces the collaborative spirit of the art form, which I think we can never get enough of.”

With Cirillo already having experience producing “Our Town,” he has made sure to give this production a unique spin.

“I have worked on the piece before, and I wanted to do something a little different with it,” Cirillo said. “So we kicked around some ideas, and without giving too much away, there are some things that we are doing in the third act that are going to be quite unexpected.”

While Marshall’s theater productions and auditions are open to all university students, the cast of “Our Town” features primarily theater majors who have built a history in collegiate theater. As a director, being able to witness an actor’s development over time is one of the most fulfilling parts of the process, according to Cirillo. 

“More than anything else, I enjoy the process of watching young actors begin and where they get to by the time we are in performance,” Cirillo said. “I enjoy seeing that sense of growth and satisfaction along with the camaraderie and collaboration that goes on in the productions.”