In part two of a series of interviews with the cast of Rockville Little Theatre’s Our Town, meet Allison Howlett.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on the stage and other roles you may have performed.
Allison: My name is Allison Howlett and I am 11 years old. I am in fifth grade at Lucy V. Barnsley Elementary School. You may have seen me performing in Imagination Stage’s Annual Gala or in their production of Guys and Dolls Jr. this past summer, where I played Big Julie. I have also done shows with Bravo Productions, including The Sound of Music (Louisa von Trapp), Cinderella (Stepsister Joy), and Annie (Tessie).
Why did you want to be part of RLT’s production of Our Town?
I mostly wanted to be in RLT’s Our Town because I had read the script online and completely fallen in love with the play. When I heard about RLT’s production from a friend, I knew instantly that I wanted to be part of the show.
Who do you play in the show?
I play Rebecca Gibbs, the younger sister of George Gibbs. She has a memorable moment in the play when she talks about people and Grover’s Corners in relation to everything else, starting as small as a single girl and getting as large as the “mind of God.”
How do you relate to your character? What traits do you share and not share, and what do you admire most about her?
I can relate to Rebecca in many ways. We both have older brothers who bother us sometimes. I believe Rebecca and I both think about things in a larger perspective, such as when she asks George, “Is the moon shining on South America, Canada and half the whole world?” However, we are not the same in the sense of how we deal with our problems. While she is a bit of a tattle tale, I usually resort to trying to figure it out myself (although I am not always successful). I admire how she takes things most people would just brush aside and thinks about them deeply. Many people wouldn’t be impressed by the story of Jane Crofut’s envelope, but Rebecca is amazed because she tries to grasp the concept of where we are in relation to everything else
Have you had any challenges preparing for your role, and how has your director Laurie Freed helped you with these challenges?
A big challenge I faced with this role is defining Rebecca in a way that didn’t make her seem too whiny or too mean, because I don’t think she is, yet the lines could be interpreted in those ways. Laurie Freed guided me by asking me questions about my character and how I said each line; these prompts helped me figure out exactly who Rebecca is, which enabled me to be consistent in my character choices.
Why is Our Town still so popular? What does Our Town have to say to today’s theater audiences?
I believe Our Town is still so popular because it makes people step back and examine their lives; it makes them question the way they’ve been living and helps them think about ways to enhance how they live. It says to audiences today that we need to live our lives well, even the littlest, seemingly unimportant moments, because that is life. You have to realize that life is wonderful, but short. Make yours have a purpose.
Which scene or scenes move you the most in Our Town and why?
The scene that moves me the most is when Emily relives her 12th birthday. She realizes how wonderful life is, and that humans never appreciate “life as they live it.” It brings tears to my eyes, and makes me really think about how I’ve been living my life. I feel that I need to appreciate everything that happens in life, since this is all I get.
What’s next for you on the stage?
I will be performing in the Imagination Stage summer camp production of Fame, Jr. this July. I don’t currently have any theater plans after that, but I hope to do more RLT productions in the future!
Our Town plays from April 29-May 8, 2016 at Rockville Little Theatre performing at F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre – 603 Edmonston Drive, in Rockville, MD. For tickets, call (240) 314-8690, buy them at the box office, or online.
Meet the Cast of Rockville Little Theatre’s ‘Our Town’: Part 1: Zoe Bulitt.
Meet the Cast of Rockville Little Theatre’s ‘Our Town’: Part 2: Allison Howlett.