SMU theatre students are bringing out a classic to open the 2010-11 theatre season: Thornton Wilder’s groundbreaking, Pulitzer-winning, fourth-wall-shattering Our Town.
The hit 1938 play, written as a social commentary on the everyday lives of middle-class Northeastern America, is famously known for its subdued, bare-bones production: little scenery, zero set design, and minimal props (some performers even reduced to miming actions). Traditionally, the play is performed in close settings, and the ever-prescient character known only as the Stage Manager is fully aware of the viewers’ existence, making for a uniquely close experience between actors and audience.
Or, in Wilder’s shorter description, “I wished to record a village’s life on the stage, with realism and with generality.”
SMU’s production opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29 and will run through Sunday, Oct. 3 (all times and tickets can be found here). The play is directed by veteran SMU theatre professor Rhonda Blair. Blair, who has directed and acted in more than 70 productions, cherishes the ideals represented by Wilder’s unusual production design.
“It’s very hard to tamper with Our Town because the story and its form are, to my mind, inseparable. Simplicity, story, and a focus on imagination – both the actors’ and the audience’s – are fundamental to Wilder’s desire to have us pay attention to the meaningfulness of the characters’, and therefore, our, daily experiences,” said Blair.
Eighteen Meadows theatre students make up the cast of Our Town, with Assistant Professor of Voice Jack Greenman joining the cast as the omniscient and soliloquy-replete Stage Manager.
“I hope people who come to spend the evening or afternoon with us feel as though they’re part of our town, and that, maybe, they have a deeper engagement with the beauty of Wilder’s play,” said Blair.
For more information, call 214-768-2787 or visit the SMU Meadows website.
Find a full list of the complete cast and crew after the jump. (Above, senior Beverly Johnson as Emily Webb.)