Eberhardt has a groupie

Classic 'Our Town' still resonates in MPC production


Herald Correspondent

Our Town" worked its subtle magic once again in the MPC Theatre Company's production of Thornton Wilder's American dramatic classic.

Written in 1938, Wilder broke with theatrical production methods. He specified a bare stage with only a few tables and chairs as scenery and no props, relying rather on sound effects and actors miming their actions to carry the plot forward.

There is a Stage Manager who talks to the audience and keeps them informed as the play progresses, which was quite an innovation at the time. This interactive device has been much imitated ever since.

But, times are now drastically different. The world has changed in the way we live and the things we take for granted, still the feelings of humanity presented during the three acts of "Our Town" have held on very strongly and feelingly.

Throughout the evening they endured and ultimately reached out emotionally as they built the story slowly and subtly.

The Stage Manager, authoritatively played by Mark Shilstone-Laurent, sets the scene by describing the physical layout of Grover's Corners, N.H.

Then he introduces the players in the drama and his observations are the connecting links for the various events that ensue.

This was surely the playwright's inspired method of avoiding cumbersome set changes.

The first act consists of an enactment of an ordinary, uneventful day in a rural town.

You meet the two families whose lives are depicted. Dr. Gibbs (Jerry Gill) is the overworked, old-fashioned, compassionate country doctor (he makes house calls).

Denise Guarnery, his loving and earnest wife, is an equally old-fashioned figure of a loving, caring help mate and mother.

They have a teen-age baseball playing son, George, and a strong-minded young daughter, Rebecca.

Their neighbors, the Webbs, are an equally hard working couple. Mr. Webb is the editor of the town newspaper and Skip Kadish makes him an intelligent and understanding man.

Mrs. Webb (Sally Burns), another wife and mother typical of the era, was firm but lovingly concerned about taking care of her teenage daughter Emily and a young son, Wally.

As the act progresses, the Stage Manager fleshes out the details of their lives so that in the second act, which shows how the teenagers fell in love and married, they had become people we knew.

George Gibbs (Jason Mask) and Emily Webb (Jennifer Muniz) are two very endearing players.

Their attraction to each other is acted with simple charm and a gentleness that is seldom seen now. Their ability to show their emotions and fears at the idea of marriage feel very real.

Finally, Wilder draws all the threads together in the third act, which is the emotional climax of the play.

Set in the town cemetery seven years later, we learn that Emily had died in childbirth, a situation far more common in the early 1900s.

It is her interaction with the other inhabitants of the cemetery and her realization that you can't go back to regain the appreciation of life that was lacking when you had it, that brings the play to its warm, yet heart-wounding ending. It truly touches a chord.

Director Peter De Bono had a competent cast to work with and he paced the play so that it built in intensity as it went along.

At first, there was a rather too-deliberate pace, but as the plot deepened and the involvement of interest became established, it all came together very convincingly.

But, there were times when the cast seemed to forget there was an audience out there and did not project very well.

Some amplification would help, particularly when the action was toward the rear of the stage.

However this was not true of Peter Eberhardt, who made the role of the frustrated alcoholic choir director a standout part.

His bitterness was palpable and Michael Robbins made the cameo role of the long-winded Professor Willard both funny and audible.

As always, the details that help make a production a success were very well carried out. Sound, lights, costumes were all exemplary and the large cast had strength and depth.

If you would like a nostalgic "Our Town" fix, here's an opportunity to get it.


Happy Days are Here Again

Seriously could this day have gone any better?



Rumsfeld out on his ass...check

You want to know how happy we are at our house? Alex actually said this morning that he felt like putting an American flag on the car! What?! Yeah...that's happy. And what did we see on the pit while driving to work?




Nail Biter ~ Blue Power

OMG this election is killing me.

Dare I have hope that we win both the house and the senate? Please America, convince me of your intelligence and conviction in sending our lame ass government a message that they need to make some big changes. Bush and co. need a "come to Jesus meeting" in a big way and hopefully this will be the way. A jail term wouldn't hurt either.

This is the first election I voted straight down the party line. I admit I didn't even consider voting for anyone else. This was too important an election. The state of the country sickens me where I once used to have so much love and pride for America. How sad is that?

Anyway I have hope. Barack was just on tv and I kid you not, I'll campaign for that man if he runs in '08. God willing.


Goodbye Grover's Corners, Goodbye Emily

Damn I can't even type the subject line without tearing up. This show has been such an emotional, creative journey for me. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best people, and to quote Jason, we really have become a family. In all the shows I've done in the past 15 years, I've never seen a cast, or director for that matter, so choked up with tears at closing. I couldn't even look at Skip. Jason...well you're the best.

I've said it before and I'll say it one last time, I never would have thought 20 years ago when I first read Our Town that I'd actually have the opportunity to play Emily. I'll be storing my script next to the paperbook copy I stole from school in 7th grade where I underlined all of Emily's lines.

This show, I think, will be a turning point for me, much as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf was. I have a show lined up for January (Alex is going to kill me) and others in the horizon. I have received the most amazing compliments from everyone, so much so I don't even know what to say. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for the support and for moving me and letting me move you.

So long Emily. You have touched my heart and I will forever carry you with me.

"Goodbye. Goodbye world, goodbye Grover's Corners, and Mama and Papa. To clocks ticking and my butternut tree, and to Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee and new ironed dresses and hot baths. And sleeping and waking up. Oh world you're far to wonderful for anyone to ever realize."


The Crystal- Light Cult

Yay...relaxation! I am so glad I took a personal day off today so I could sleep all I wanted before the show tonight. Sleep makes me happy.

There's a funny occurance happening in my classroom. I'm a Crystal Light drinker. Bethia and I started drinking it because neither of us likes the taste of plain water. I can hardly ever drink it, and I know I need to drink water, so Crystal Light seemed to be the answer. I drink it at school in little water bottles using the Crystal Light on the Go packs (fabulous idea by the way) and the fifth graders asked me about it. I told them it was Crystal Light and that I drink it because I can't stand the taste of plain water and I liked it because it was sugar free and I was able to drink the water I needed too.

Seems Crystal Light has become a cult in fifth grade. Half the kids now drink it. They carry their little water bottles and On the Go packs all over the place. They have conversations about which flavor is the best. They loudly proclaim that it's sugar free to who ever will listen. They have even gotten their parents hooked on it.

It cracks me up but it's scary how much influence I have on them in certain regards.

Oh and as for Crystal Light, I recommend the raspberry lemonade.


Our Town Opens

Our Town at MPC's Morgan Stock Stage.

October 19, 2006

In 1938, audiences were startled by Thornton Wilder's barebones production of Our Town. By dispensing with the normal trappings of theater, it broke down the traditional narrative form and became one of the first widely-hailed postmodern theatrical classics. Nearly 70 years later, it's the writing that continues to mesmerize audience and invigorate directors like MPC's Peter DeBono. [RM]

8pm/Fri-Sat; 2pm/Sun. The Morgan Stock Stage at the MPC Theatre Company, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. $18/in advance; $25/door; $20/seniors; $15/young adults (20 and under); $10/children 12 and under. 646-4213 or Ticketguys.com.


Our Town and Stuff...

Man it was a week.

Much sadness for Peter, Cliff, and their families this week. Jerry was such a neat guy. I had always wanted to work with him and we would talk about it now and then. He loved my Helen Kane impersonation and would always give me the best compliments and feedback on my performances. I know he will be missed greatly in the theatre community.

Our first week off book for Our Town. The week started off well but of course as we got closer and closer to act three I was toast. Why oh why can't I memorize like I used to? Damn plur!! LOL It's been good times though. Jason and Mark make me laugh regularly, something I'm always happy to do. (Though not on stage Mark!!! "Kiss the bitch". Heh)

Fifth grade has been very busy and amusing. Our days are over in what seems like two hours. I never seem to have enough time to finish everything I need to do with them, which sucks because it's a lot. They are however, pretty much the same as they were in second grade, just taller. My little friend in second grade continues to be my little friend in fifth grade. At least he's respectful of me. He told the after school aide that I was awesome. Current events have also proven to be an interesting weekly event. Why this past Friday we had discussions ranging from the politics of nuclear disarmament and our lovely president, the dangers of kitty litter to pregnant women, birth defects, and hermaphrodites, breast cancer and nipple piercings. Yeah you read right. I stopped that last one right away but man Fifth graders are interesting.


I Can't Take it Anymore

My dear sweet baby Sweetpea died about 20 min ago. She was fine for most of the day, her usual happy kamakazi rattie self. When we got home from getting groceries I looked in the cage and saw her rolling around funny. Then for a couple hours she alternated hopping around with dragging her legs behind her. Then she seemed to magically get better. I had hope that she could make it til the morning to go to the vet. I kept checking on her and while I was at the cage she jumped on the door like she always did to come out. I opened it and she climbed up my arm to my shoulder. She died in my arms not 5 min later.

This hurts so bad because she was my little baby runt rattie from the beginning. I held her from the time she was born. It's like one of my own children dying.

What makes it worse was that I lost my old Zoe girl on Friday. Zoe was three so it was horribly sad yet expected. I love my rats so much but if I lose another one in any short period of time I'm going to lose it. They always come to me right before they die. I don't know why they do it.

Zoe, who was always skittish of people until the end when she wouldn't let me put her in the cage for a day. We spent some quality snuggle time in the end.

I'll add a picture of Sweetpea on July 4th when I can scan it.


LIfe at 15,000 Feet

I did it!

I cannot thank Amber enough for the most wonderful birthday present. This was truly a highlight of my life! I love you!

It was strange how I wasn't scared at all, especially at the door which was where I thought I would get nervous. The actual jumping out of the door part happened so fast you couldn't even think. You just went. I was also surprised at how long we were up in the air. It seemed like quite a long time. It was so amazing just floating (though we were really falling) in the air and being able to look all around like that. Above the clouds the view was spectacular. Suposedly Skydive Monterey Bay is the highest skydive in California at 15,000 feet and if you pay for the 18,000 feet jump you are doing the highest jump in the US. So cool! As you can see in the video I'm grinning like a fool the whole time. That was how I felt. Elated!

Another awesome thing I saw was a rainbow. Did you know rainbows are actually circular? Like doughnuts. We see them as arches on the ground but from above they are circles.

I can't go on enough about the experience and about how much it meant to me. It is certainly something I would do again. I'd even consider taking a class. I love birds and up there, I was a bird.

P.s Craziness....my mom wants to do it now. I think she's insane. That or she just wants the damn video. The following are stills from the DVD.

Lee my awesome Jumpmaster getting me ready. I loved him. He really made me feel comfortable about the whole thing.

I was going "OMG" and "Wow" the whole time. I tried to take everything in while I was up there.


Lee just pulled the chute.

On the ground once again. The adrenaline kick was craaazy. I was jumping up and down for like 30 min afterwards. I looked like a raving lunatic I'm sure to all the poor saps waiting to get on the plane and freaking out.

If you would like to watch the video

Click Here