On a recent day, a melody of shouts, saws and background music drifted from the former fire station on Griffin Road, which has been converted into the Thea tre Factory, where the sets of Penobscot Theatre Company plays are built.

Master carpenter Will Newman and volunteer Gregg Hanscom were deep in the throes of creating the set and a wind machine as part of the sound effects for the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.”

It was hard to tell from all the parts scattered about, however, that these puzzle pieces soon would be moved across town to the Bangor Opera House and put together to re-create a 1940s radio studio.

From a beautiful set design created by Sean McClelland, diagrams and plans carefully were laid out on paper and in computer programs weeks ago and slowly morphed into the collection of parts that will fit together just right before opening night on Dec. 3.

The re-enactment of the 1946 American Christmas classic is intended to take audiences back to a joyous time in post-war America.

Actors and actresses will laugh and sing on the platforms created by the Penobscot Theatre Company’s crew, including Newman, who has been the master carpenter of the Penobscot Theatre Company for about nine years.

Newman came into the job by accident. He was a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and recently had moved to the area. Newman’s brother was acquainted with a scenic artist from the Penobscot Theatre Company and connected Newman, who began volunteering with the company.

His duties were simple at first — mostly painting. But one fateful day, the master carpenter at the time quit.

“This was right before the opening of ‘Peter Pan,’” Newman said.

There was a crisis at hand — the windows of one of the set pieces had to open, but the walls had to open, too, to let Peter Pan’s flying line go through. No one could figure it out.

Then Newman stepped forward.

“I think I know how to do it,” he remembered saying.

He had a background in carpentry, and his idea, which used dowels to maneuver all the working pieces, worked perfectly.

“The set designer said, ‘I want that guy working here,’” Newman recalled.

And he has been with the Penobscot Theatre Company ever since.

“I feel like I have the best job here. I smile when I get here. I smile when I leave. I have a really good day every day,” Newman said.

“Carpentrywise and architecturally sometimes the design gets really challenging,” he said. “With theater you look at something and it looks substantial — like it’s a house — and sometimes it’s just a wall. The rules you would use to build something normal don’t apply. Which works for you and against you. … It’s definitely a place to be creative, and it demands that you think outside of the box.”

Newman also has to remember that sets built at the Theatre Factory must be moved a few miles and set up for plays at the Bangor Opera House.

“Yeah, you can build something incredibly enormous here, but it has to get through this door, onto a vehicle, across town, into the theater. It has to be built to disassemble and tour, essentially. … In the back of your mind when you’re building, you have to be sure you don’t paint yourself into a corner,” Newman said.

The latest show will feature Bangor high-schoolers Elisabeth Budd, Robert Brangwynne and Lana Sabbagh, along with actors and actresses Ben Layman, Jen Shepard, Tony Larkin, Mark Chambers and Blythe Coons, who together will play more than 50 characters. Recent Bangor high school graduate Luke Cote will man the sound effects table, providing more than 170 sounds to complement the show, which will run Dec. 3-27.

Original music by Larrance Fingerhut of ImprovAcadia played by three musicians will round out the show.

“It’s a beloved American story. We chose it not only because it’s a classic but because it elevates the importance of the individual within one’s community, and being that Bangor is such a tight-knit community, it seems particularly apropos,” producing artistic director Bari Newport said.

By the time audiences start enjoying the production, Newman and production manager and technical director Bob Rogers already will be working on the next set.

To learn more about the show or to purchase tickets to, visit penobscottheatre.org/show/wonderful-life.

Shelby Hartin

Shelby Hartin was born and raised in southern Aroostook County in a tiny town called Crystal, population 269. After graduating from the University of Maine in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in...