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‘Our Town’ program March 24 features Sharon Playhouse panel

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KENT – There are many similarities between the fictional Grover’s Corners, NH, and Kent, CT, because small towns have things that ring true for residents. Kent’s townspeople are being invited to read Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” and participate in a program, “One Town One Book,” March 24 at 3 p.m. at the Kent Memorial Library.

All residents are being encouraged to read ‘Our Town’ and participate in the One Book One Town event March 24 at 3 p.m. with Sharon Playhouse representatives at the Kent Memorial Library. Photo Illustration by Lynn Mellis Worthington

The library purchased and has distributed 75 copies of the play, “Our Town” and has been encouraging people to read the 200-page book. There are a few copies left but the library is also offering to share a PDF of the book for those who still want to participate.

“In our town we like to know the facts about everybody,” explains the stage manager, who narrates the opening scene of the play. As characters are introduced, a reader begins to see the connections between everyone and the story weaves itself together.

Adult Programs and Special Events Director Brittany McAllister said during a recent interview that the library wanted to bring the town together with the goal of getting everyone in town to read and talk about a book.

The idea was originally suggested by Sandy Edelman, who is the president of the library Board of Directors, after she read Ann Patchett’s “Tom Lake.”

“Sandy thought it would be so great if everyone could read ‘Our Town’ and then maybe ‘Tom Lake’ as well,” said McAllister. “We thought ‘Our Town’ is such a good idea. It is a short play. It doesn’t take a huge amount of time. Also, we just thought it was interesting that last summer Sharon Playhouse had put on ‘Our Town.’ ”

The play is relatable to many small towns’ residents.

“The message is that we need to slow down and take a look at how lucky we are. The small things in life matter. That feels like Kent. We get busy, too, but we have such a wonderful community,” said McAllister. “We see this every day at the library. We all have a common goal to support each other and make our town great.”

“Our Town” Director Andrus Nichols will be among the representatives from the last fall’s Sharon Playhouse production who will be part of a panel discussion on the story. Also on the panel will be Michael Kevin Baldwin, the associate artistic director and director of education at the playhouse, and Drew Ledbetter, an actor and associate producer of “Our Town.”

There won’t be a performance on March 24 but it rather a discussion of how they put on the play, how one looks at a script, and how it is translated from paper to stage.

“I’m hoping that the Sharon Playhouse members will also talk about why it was important for them to put on the play in a small town, small community and what it meant for them as well,” McAllister said.

Anyone who takes a copy of “Our Town” and intends to read it, can fill out a raffle ticket at the library. The winner will be drawn at the March 24 program. The prize is two tickets to “Our Town” on Broadway, which scheduled to open this fall. The tickets were donated anonymously.

Registration for the free program is requested online.

Lynn Worthington
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