“Our Town” Is Your Town in Meadows Season Opener

September 30, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Elizabeth Lowe
elowe@smu.edu

Thornton Wilder’s classic play allows for a variety of imaginative stage and scene settings. From full costume and set to complete black and pantomime, “Our Town” is performed in both classic and edgy tones.

However, few productions are as transparent as the “Our Town” Meadows presents this season. Rhonda Blair and her cast definitely challenge Wilder’s built-in artistic license.

The production was distractingly transparent for many audience members.

Within the first three minutes of opening night, one audience member sitting on the front row – on the same plane as the actors on stage – decisively left her spotlight seat. Act I was tough to endure. The lights are up in full, fellow audience members directly across the stage, and quick interruptions of scene-setting fly in and out.

It’s “Our Town,” but with the entire skeleton on the play on stage. In fact, you – the audience member – are on stage.

After the first intermission, a few audience members had abandoned ship.
But if you can make it through the first act, the logistics of the stage set-up seems to disappear.

The transparency of the stage layout becomes in itself transperant, allowing Wilder’s timeless, powerful message to shine through.

The family dynamics created by Blair and her cast were authentic with true chemistry. Mr . Webb, played by Grant Reynolds, was a pure delight.

In the end, Meadow’s production keeps “Our Town” in its most raw form. The seemingly extreme choices of the director and crew only highlight the extreme realism of the Wilder classic.

“Our Town” will continue to run through Sunday Oct. 3.
The show starts at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

UPDATE (1:51 p.m.): The production is SOLD OUT except for the weekend matinees.