Drama Department Debuts Thacher Alum’s Our Town

This fall, the Thacher school showcased their theatrical talent through the production of the renowned play Our Town, written by Thacher (kind of) alum Thornton Wilder. Directed by Mr. Jake Jacobsen, head of the English Department, the play ran for four nights in a row, improving with each performance.

The cast began rehearsals in mid-September, allowing for almost ten weeks of practice to perfect the famous drama.

Kathryn Lynch '16, Bailey Cypheridge '15, and Laura Kirkland '15 perform a scene from Wilder's Our Town.
Kathryn Lynch ’16, Bailey Cypheridge ’15, and Laura Kirkland ’15 perform a scene from Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Wilder attended The Thacher School and began writing plays while at The Thacher School.  Photo Credit Dana Vancisin

Laura Kirkland ‘15, who has appeared in every fall play since her freshman year, commented on the production as a whole:

It was really amazing to see how far we came over the many weeks of rehearsal. The cast and crew worked so hard throughout the entire process, but we couldn’t have done it without the amazing technical support of Mr. Jensen and the wonderful direction of Mr. Jacobsen. They made the production into a truly unforgettable experience!

Mr. Cal Jensen, CdeP 2006, though involved with numerous Thacher performances, was inducted only this year as a faculty member, making his official technical debut this month with the production of Our Town. Along with the rest of the crew, the light, sound, and stage managers displayed a well executed performance, allowing the audience to focus on the acting and not technical mishaps.

This rendition of a classic tale not only pleased the people involved in the show, but also the audience members, as students and teachers alike were enthralled by the haunting tale of life, love, and inevitable death.

Cassandra James, ‘15, stated that, “The play was eye-opening in the sense that it made you stop and evaluate your life; you were forced to observe all of the things that you take for granted, especially the little things.”

Stella Frank '15 plays the role of young Wally Webb. Photo Credit Dana Vancisin
Stella Frank ’15 plays the role of young Wally Webb in Act One of Wilder’s Our Town. The minimalist stage setting emphasized the characters’ lines and the play’s storyline.  Photo Credit Dana Vancisin

Director Jake Jacobsen was the Drama Director from 1991 – 2002 and directed both the fall play and the musical for those eleven years, plus taught Introduction to Drama and Advanced Acting in addition to two classes of English. He directed the play approximately 20 years ago at the outdoor amphitheatre.

Of this most recent production, Mr. Jacobsen said:

The cast has embraced the play in ways I had hoped but didn’t dare to expect. As always, my favorite part of the process is watching the players discover the truth and beauty behind a playwright’s words. As the weeks progressed and the actors grew more comfortable in their roles, I started to hear the play in a different way—and am more convinced than ever that Our Town is, as Edward Albee said, ‘probably the finest play ever written by an American.’

Overall, Our Town, proved to be a huge success, as students and teachers came together to demonstrate the often overlooked artistic and theatrical talent of the student body.

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