Behind the Scenes of Our Town


Marifel Miguel, Chief Editor

The HHS Fall Drama Production is officially back and will make its comeback with the 1938 play Our Town written by American playwright Thornton Wilder. 

Our Town portrays  the story of the fictional American small town of Grover’s Corners between 1901 and 1913 through the everyday lives of its citizens. 

With opening night being days away and the mystery of what rehearsals are like during this time I decided to attend one of the rehearsals and had the absolute privilege of witnessing it. 

The rehearsal I attended was on Monday November 29 only a few days before opening night(how exciting!!).

I came in right in the middle of Act 1 and was immediately entranced, I had no idea what was going on, what scene was being acted out or who any of the characters were, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of the stage; I was so engaged in what was happening that I almost forgot that I was supposed to be observing and taking notes. You could truly see the dedication and hardwork our talented HHS students put into their roles and I can say with all the confidence in the world that this play was casted perfectly, everyone was a natural in their roles.

You know that feeling of when you are watching a movie and you suddenly  realize that everything is scripted and the actors are just playing characters. That’s how I felt watching the rehearsal. Everything was going so smooth and the performances felt so natural sometimes I forgot everyone was acting.  I was especially surprised by the comedy that was in the play, considering it was written in 1938. During intermission I got to see what the cast was like outside of their roles, and it was surprising how energetic everyone was despite the long rehearsal day they had. After a brief intermission everyone was able to get back into their roles and end the play flawlessly. 

I also had the opportunity to speak to some of the cast members, and director Ms.Roniet about their thoughts on opening night, their characters and their favorite scene.


The Clarion: How do you feel about opening night excited, nervous, a little of both?

  • Ms.Roniet(Director): I am definitely feeling excited about our upcoming opening night.  We have not had a performance since we performed Clue: On Stage! in December 2019, and I know both the cast and crew are ready to bring theater productions back to the HHS stage.  Opening night is always just really exciting because there is certainly a shared buzz in the air, this high energy feeling as everyone awaits the start of the first show to display 2 months worth of hard work.  It’s a great feeling to watch the cast and crew share this togetherness and bond over the first night of any performance.  
  • Jamie Damstra (Senior, Mrs.Webb):For the show I am a healthy mix of both excited and nervous, probably more excited.
  • Natalie Poma (Senior, Stage Manager): Honestly…both…but I’m also very excited for  everyone to see what we’ve been working on.
  • Sophia Basilone(Junior Mrs.Soames): I’m super excited for opening night! This is my first performance since Clue my freshman year and it feels great to be back on stage again! I’m a little nervous to drop any lines of course, but overall I couldn’t be more excited. 
  • Paul Duerr(Junior, Mr.Webb): I feel excited regarding opening night. I do not feel nervous whatsoever, I am glad that the theatre program is returning with flying colors.
  • Estelle Barbieri(Senior, Mrs. Gibbs):  I am absolutely thrilled that the theatre department is back up and running! I am super excited for opening night and I can’t wait to get back on the stage and perform in front of an audience again! 
  • Bella Puluse(Junior, Emily Webb): Definitely a little bit of both! I’m especially excited because this will be my first time performing in a high school production, I’ve been involved before, but didn’t end up performing due to covid. I’m also nervous because it felt like opening night came so quick, but I know we’ll be ready!


The Clarion: Is there a scene in particular that are you most excited for the audience to see?

    • Ms.Roniet(Director): I am most excited for the audience to see the entire show! The cast has put their all into bringing this show to life, so it’s more catching the nuances and moments that make Our Town, which the cast has done spectacularly well.  This was also the first show brought to the HHS stage back in 2003 with Mrs. Hackett when I was a freshman, so it’s a special show for me!  
    • Jamie Damstra (Senior, Mrs.Webb): I am most excited for the audience to see all of Act 3 in particular because I feel like it’s really a pivotal part of the show where you get to see how Emily’s realizing that she never really took the time to appreciate life when she was living it here on Earth. I love that scene!
    • Natalie Poma (Senior, Stage Manager):There is a super funny scene between Mr. Webb and George where they are having this awkward like son-in-law and father-in-law conversation so I’m excited to see how the audience is going to react to that.
    • Sophia Basilone(Junior, Mrs. Soames):  The scene I’m most excited for people to see is the wedding scene. This scene is my favorite to perform and the whole cast is great in it! 
  • Paul Duerr (Junior, Mr. Webb): There is a scene in which my character, Mr. Webb, has a discussion with George which is one of my favorite parts of the play. See the show to find out what it is.
  • Estelle Barbieri(Senior, Mrs.Gibbs): There are honestly so many parts of the show that I absolutely love and can’t wait to share with people. George’s talk with Mr. Webb, George and Emily’s love story, and Mrs. Gibbs’ longing to see Paris are a few of my favorites. Specifically I can’t wait for the audience to see the final scene of the show because I think it really makes you think differently about daily life and better appreciate the people and things around you. Hopefully it shows people not to take things for granted.
  • Bella Puluse(Junior, Emily Webb): I don’t want to spoil anything, but I love Act 3 because of how different and unexpected it is. It completely deviates from the beginning of the play and because of that it really grabs your attention.


The Clarion:How would you describe your character and is there a trait to them that is particularly your favorite?

    • Natalie Poma(Senior, Stage Manager): My character is supposed to direct and set up the play for the audience. I love that my character is able to interact with the audience and also characters in the show as well. This character has been particularly challenging because of the very long monologues and also I struggled with how to deliver the lines at certain points.
    • Sophia Basilone(Junior Mrs.Soames): My character, Mrs. Soames is the town gossip of Grover’s Corners. She’s very loud, dramatic, and flamboyant making her super fun to play! 
  • Paul Duerr(Junior, Mr.Webb): I love how brazen my character is. He is not necessarily written as such, it was more of a flair that I added
  • Estelle Barbieri(Senior, Mrs.Gibbs): Mrs. Gibbs is definitely a tough, hard-working mother, but my absolute favorite thing about her is her appreciation for the things around her. Throughout the play she tells the other characters to look at the moon, stars, and smell the flowers, and that’s something I do a lot in my personal life so I absolutely love that I can relate to her there. She loves to take a moment to look at the beauty of the world around her from time to time and also longs to see more beautiful places, specifically Paris, and I admire her a lot for that.
  • Bella Puluse(Junior, Emily Webb): My character is Emily Webb, she’s a teenage girl in a small town in New Hampshire, in the early 1900s. She’s very bright and works hard in school, but she’s also very caring towards the people in her life. What I love about her is her appreciation towards the simple things in life, like the way the moon shines every night or the smell of her neighbors flowers.


The Clarion: How is the cast doing in terms of navigating their first post-covid play and is there anything you’d like to say to them?


  • The cast and crew are amazing!  For our first post-Covid production, the cast and crew has managed so well rehearsing while keeping safety for themselves and others a priority.  They have worked so hard to bring Our Town to life, and I am so proud of their dedication and the support they give each other.  
  • To the crew, who are nearly all brand new with learning how to run light equipment, sound equipment, and manage various aspects of backstage from costumes to managing the stage, I’m so proud of all the work they have done and how well you have taken on various tasks to make the show run as well as it does.  You are the “unseen heroes” of every production, and we couldn’t make this work without you!  
  • To the cast, you are all so incredible and have done an amazing job embodying your characters and encouraging one another as we worked our way over the past 8 weeks to the show.  Trust yourselves, have fun with your role, and enjoy every moment of each performance!


I would like to thank Ms.Roniet and the cast and crew of Our Town for taking the time to answer my questions. I understand it’s been a chaotic week for them and I really appreciate that they still took time out of their busy schedules to answer my questions. 

The Clarion wishes the cast and crew to “break a leg” on their opening night and for all of their shows, please come out and support our wonderfully talented HHS Students!