Arts and Entertainment

A modern version of ‘Our Town’ hits the high school

Vashon High School drama students will present an original take on one of the most beloved plays in the American theater canon, with four performances of “It’s a Wilder World Today: Our Town Revisited” scheduled for Thursday through Sunday.

The play is based on Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” but with a twist: The action is set on Vashon Island.

Stephen Floyd, the VHS teacher who is directing the production, said the students in his advanced theater arts class began work on “It’s a Wilder World Today” in September, starting with in-depth look at Wilder’s play.

Several weeks of writing scenes and monologues followed, and in rehearsal the students shaped the script into a story line that focuses, like the original play, on a relationship between two young people, George and Emily.

“The script explores how life has changed, as well as what universal experiences remain the same, over the course of a century in small-town America,” said Floyd.

The structure of the play follows Wilder’s original, with scenes about daily life, a middle section about romance and a final scene that reflects on life and death.

Floyd said the result of all the students’ work on the project is a play with a lot of humor amidst serious and thoughtful overtones — but it is not for all ages.

“If the play were a film, it would be rated PG-13, with language that some parents may find inappropriate for small children,” Floyd said.

He went on to explain that the play also contains material about adolescent sexuality, a scene that shows how some of our Island teens party and timely references to “grinding” at high school dances.

“It’s a Wilder World” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 19-21, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, at Vashon High School Theatre. Tickets, sold at the door, cost $5. Parental guidance is suggested for children 13 and younger.

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