By RICK BROWN, Yard Light Media
KEARNEY – Sam Umland’s personal relationship with Thorton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “Our Town” dates back half a century.
“You could even say that my college career started as a result of this play,” he said. “I appeared in a production as a stage manager 50 years ago. The play has always been an important part of my life. When I had the chance to realize it, I immediately seized the opportunity.
Umland, a retired English professor from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, will reconnect with “Our Town” when the Kearney Community Theater presents the drama, which begins September 30 and runs through October 10. Tickets are $ 16 to $ 20.
This time he will be directing the show, something he calls “One of the classic pieces of American theater”.
First produced in 1938, Umland noted that the game has been in continuous production since then. From 2010 to 2020, more than 4,000 productions of “Our Town” were staged, which means that on average, every day, somewhere in the world, a production of the play opened.
“The play cuts through everyday life and daily grind, through love and marriage – and ultimately, death,” Umland said. “It doesn’t necessarily end in a melancholy way, but in a more philosophical way. It’s a very lyrical piece with a sublime ending to a story about the people of small American towns.