’s Our Town Essay, Research Paper
Thornton Wilder’s wrote Our Town in contrast to many other plays. Wilder’s objectives in writing the play oppose those of traditional drama. The character known as the “Stage Manager” plays many roles not seen in traditional plays. In addition, the way in which the setting is acknowledged is unique. Our Town does not follow the norms that other plays have established. In most conventional plays, the goal is for the audience to become so absorbed in the production that they forget they are watching actors on a stage. Wilder’s goal in Our Town was the opposite. He made no effort to achieve reality. In doing so, he did not mind the fact that his audience was viewing and not participating. The audience is frequently reminded they are in a theater watching imaginary events. Wilder wanted his play to represent a typical American town on a typical day. Wilder created the Stage Manager to fulfill many roles. The Stage Manager is primarily the narrator. In this role, he frequently talks directly to the audience. At the opening of the first act, the Stage Manager arranges the scenery on the stage. “This play is called Our Town,” he says. “It was written by Thornton Wilder; produced and directed by ” In addition to himself, the Stage Manager plays a minister, the drug store owner, and even a female citizen. The Stage Manager also emphasizes the fact that the play does not follow chronological order. He addresses past, present and future events as if time was non-existent. After he introduces Dr. Gibbs, for instance, the Stage Manager tells the audience when Dr. Gibbs will pass on. Time draws no boundary in Our Town.
The setting in Our Town is unimportant. Grover’s Corner, New Hampshire portrays any small town. To make this most effective, the scenery is minimal. At the opening of the play, the stage is bare. For the first scene, each side of the stage is set with three chairs and a table. These, along with simple trellises, represent the Webb and Gibbs houses. The same chairs are later transformed into the drugstore counter, the church pews, and finally the Grover’s Corner graveyard. Wilder leaves it to the viewer to fill in all the details that the scenery leaves out with imagination. Because of this, many people can relate to Our Town. Our Town opposes traditional theater. Wilder wrote his play to be unrealistic. He invented the Stage Manager to emphasize the play’s timelessness and versatility. Finally, the setting is created in such as way that it only represents what the viewer decides it should be. Customary theater is left behind when Our Town steps on stage.