When you think of a play, what do you see? Most people probably think of a stage, actors, scenery, props, the usual. "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder and put on by the LSU Theatre Department is one play that differs from the traditional play we think of today. It will challenge your imagination and put a new perspective on life.
One of the first things you notice as the play starts is the stage setup, or lack there-of. All you see is a table on either side of the stage with a few chairs around each of them and lots of chairs around the sides of the stage. The first act begins with a narrator describing the layout of the town. It continues on with the acting of the daily lives of some of the simple townsfolk. Seeing as there are no walls and only one or two props everything is pantomimed, portrayed through carefully planned actions as if the object really was there.
As the play continues, time is sped up to a few years down the road when two of the main young people, George and Emily, are getting married. It starts out with the morning of the wedding and the thoughts of the two families on the wedding. They do a quick flashback to when they knew they'd get married, then return to the present as they get married. The church is depicted by moving all the chairs into near rows and a block stand near the back of the stage for a pulpit. Near the end of this act, a funny moment is that they pause the play to narrate just as the bride and groom are kissing.
After the third and final intermission, the play resumes as some of the cast come on, place their chairs on their side, and sit at the front of the stage. The narrator tells us this is the town graveyard, it's raining, and several new people have been added over the years since the last act. A new grave is being filled that day and the occupant is Emily, having died giving child birth. She visits the row of dead people as the funeral goes on in the background. Most of the dead people just stare blankly off into space, not wishing to remember their lives. We find out why as Emily tries to relive her life but finds it far too painful to do so. She soon joins the rest of the people sitting blankly in the front of the stage as her still alive husband mourns over her grave. Thus, the play ends.
The talent that went into this play is simply amazing. From very accurately pantomiming the actions to showing the emotions behind each character, this play deserves a round of applause and an encore. While the world is never solid and requires you to constantly change your mental view of the stage, it does a wonderful job portraying the life of this simple town.