Clara Ferguson, 11, peeks around a corner during rehearsal for “Crush.” The play which combines extraterrestrials and a high school production of “Our Town” is Perseverance Theatre’s Young Company’s next production. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Clara Ferguson, 11, peeks around a corner during rehearsal for “Crush.” The play which combines extraterrestrials and a high school production of “Our Town” is Perseverance Theatre’s Young Company’s next production. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Aliens meet ‘Our Town’ in Perseverance Theatre’s upcoming Young Company production

‘Crush’ will run on the theater’s mainstage Oct. 20, Oct. 21 and Oct. 22.

“Crush” is about treading the boards and saving the world.

The upcoming production from Persevearance Theatre’s Young Company concerns a high school production of “Our Town” in Pin-Cushion, California, that becomes entangled with an alien invasion plot.

“Crush” opens 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, and its run will include 7 p.m. performances Sunday, Oct. 21 and Monday Oct. 22. Performances will take place on Perseverance Theatre’s main stage, where an all-Alaskan cast will be performing “Our Town.”

“We have a lot of work to do, but I’m so glad we made the choice with this piece,” said “Crush” director Julie York Coppens during a five-minute rehearsal break. “It’s so great we get to do this at the same time as ‘Our Town.’”

“Crush,” a comedy written by Stephen Gregg, includes plenty of straightforward allusions to the 80-year-old Thornton Wilder classic, as well as some subtle references, and it can make use of the main stage’s set.

Coppens said so far, Young Company actors seem excited about the opportunity to portray teens and would-be conquering aliens.

“I’m really excited to be in this production,” said Hunter Hill, 17, who will portray Bark Melon. “I think it’s pretty goofy in a great way.”

Bark is the story’s protagonist, and the first person in his town to catch on to a possible alien invasion. However, a recent stay in a psychiatric hospital after the loss of his mother means Bark has an uphill battle convincing others that stakes are higher than an opening night performance.

Hill said he likes that “Crush” includes some important themes such as mental wellness and coping with loss along with the oddball laughs.

“It deals with a lot of great things,” Hill said.

But the laughs and goofy subject matter aren’t overshadowed.

“I think it’s really funny,” said Clara Ferguson, 11, who will play the dictatorial Prokopiak. “I like that it involves aliens.”

She also likes her role of the demanding theater teacher.

“I really like her,” Ferguson said. “She gets to boss everyone around.”

Coppens said the play’s generally uplifting tone also resonates with the young actors.

While “Crush” draws a lot from “Our Town,” the newer play’s tone is decidedly more cheerful.

“Unlike, ‘Our Town,’ things work out for everyone,” Coppens said.

Know & Go

What: “Crush”

When: 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, and its run will include 7 p.m. performances Sunday, Oct. 21 and Monday Oct. 22.

Where: ” Perseverance Theatre, 914 Third St., Douglas

Admission: $12 for adults and $5 for students.


•Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @capweekly.


Hunter Hill, 17, pauses before speaking while portraying Bark Melon during rehearsal for “Crush.” Hill said he likes the goofy tone of the play that deals with an alien invasion amid a school production of “Our Town.” The Young Company production will make use of Perseverance Theatre’s MainStage in late October toward the end of Perseverance Theatre’s own production of “Our Town.” (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Hunter Hill, 17, pauses before speaking while portraying Bark Melon during rehearsal for “Crush.” Hill said he likes the goofy tone of the play that deals with an alien invasion amid a school production of “Our Town.” The Young Company production will make use of Perseverance Theatre’s MainStage in late October toward the end of Perseverance Theatre’s own production of “Our Town.” (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

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