Monday, February 04, 2008

Ah Wilder-Ness!

DCepticon is back for the day. The robot is letting me talk to you about the first play I was ever in, Our Town.

There has become a perception about Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth to a lesser extent that these plays are both easy and dated.

Well that is bunk. After numerous high school, college and community theater productions of these plays it is understandable that these plays now seem worn out.

However, I want you to consider the case that Our Town marks a leap forward in American drama that has allowed modern American theater to exist.

Imagine a play that opened on Broadway without sets, that jumped backwards and forwards in time, had an all seeing and knowing narrator, contained direct address to the audience and the third act was told from the point of view of a dead woman.

That is exactly what Wilder gave the world when Our Town came to life and many of those same devices found their way into The Skin of Our Teeth.

Wilder was taking many of the same theatrical devices that playwrights in Europe like Brecht and Pirendello were employing and used them in ways that even those greats of the world stage had never imagined.

More on this tomorrow, I promise.

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