Theater to take audiences beyond stage setting in ‘Our Town’ revival
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 01:02
Audiences will go beyond the stage setting as the Sam Houston State Theater Department presents a revival of Thorton Wilder’s "Our Town".
Opening Wednesday in the Erica Starr Theater, the play centers around the everyday lives of citizens of Corners, New Hampshire. It follows the relationship between George Gibbs and Emily Webb as they go from childhood friends to their life after marriage.
The three acts explore childhood, growing up and death through the story of George and Emily told by The Stage Manager, who serves as the narrator of the play.
"The Stage Manager is all-knowing," Tom Prior, director and associate chair of the Theater Department, said. "He can even be the philosopher and changes characters throughout the show. She talks to the audience directly and maintains control [of the show]."
Although the set design and props are minimal, the show will take a unique approach to staging as the actors will use the whole auditorium to make it an interactive space for the audience.
"The audience is going to question where exactly the stage is because it’s all around them, which is different from normal theater productions," Prior said.
It is that minimalist approach to the show that presented some challenges for the large cast made up of about 20 students.
"Because of the show’s simplicity, the acting had to be there," Prior said. "We also use live sound effects like coconuts and glass bottles that have to be synchronized with what is happening on stage, which was also a big challenge."
Despite the heavy reliance on dialogue, Prior said it is part of what makes the show a refreshing experience for the audience.
"We don’t have much of a set; all we need are the words," he said. "I think it’s a great way to tell the story. It’s a refreshing idea from all the flashy Broadway productions."
Prior is hopeful the audience will come to appreciate life more after seeing the show.
"I hope the audience takes away that life is very short and fleeting and that we have got to enjoy each moment," he said. "Life just passes us by and we often forget people, places and the little things."
"Our Town" will show at 8 p.m. from Feb. 27 to March 2 with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $10 for SHSU students and senior citizens with a valid ID.
For more information, call the University Theater Center box office at 936-294-1339.