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Our Town
a Drama
by Thornton Wilder

COMPANY : The Underground Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta
ID# 4165

SHOWING : November 10, 2011 - November 19, 2011



One of the greatest American plays ever written, Our Town is a tale of love, marriage, death and daily life in the small town of Groverfs Corners, New Hampshire, in the early 1900Œs, but its message is universal. The play has been called gone of the sagest, warmest and most deeply human scripts to come out of our theatrec A spiritual experiencec a work of love and wisdom.h If youfve seen this drama before, Director Dante Santacroce emphasizes that itfs a play for all seasons: each time you see it, youfll find something new.

Director Dante Santacroce
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Who's Town?
by playgoer
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" is firmly set in fictional Grover's Corners in a very real corner of New Hampshire. The Underground Theatre's production of "Our Town" still retains many of the lines locating the action in New Hampshire, but none of the actors' accents underline this. Only the cemetary supervisor seems to attempt a New Hampshire accent, and his accent wavers between N.H. and the South.

This is a production that takes great liberties with Thornton Wilder's script in terms of the Stage Manager's introductions. In the capable hands of actor Bob Winstead, these variations come across as very natural. I'm not sure that they add anything of substance to the play, but they go over smoothly.

Most of the action flows pretty smoothly too, as it needs to in this mostly propless show. Miming of actions is not particularly first-rate, but is basically competent. The same is true of most performances. Standouts for me were Sarah Keyes Chang as a youthful, spirited Emily Webb; James Connor as her father, displaying the best comic chops of the production as editor of the local newspaper; and Ben Appley-Epstein, as personable milkman Howie Newsome. Aside from one thick Southern accent and a few line bobbles, there is nothing in the production to stand in the way of Thornton Wilder's classic, timeless tale.

The Underground Theatre's performance space is a low-ceilinged church utility room that leaves no room for set pieces. The set that has been thrown together consists of two mismatched round tables, folding chairs, four barstools, a plank of wood, and an incompetently hung, half-finished backdrop (which I assume is intentional). It's certainly not attractive. Blocking doesn't always work in this space that has audience on three sides. In the kitchen scenes, Laura Keys-David (portraying the sweet Mrs. Gibbs) and Paula Watson (portraying the no-nonsense Mrs. Webb) block portions of the action as they mime opening cabinets and cooking. For the wedding scene and several other moments, actors have their backs to the audience members in the higher-priced prime seating against the long wall of the space. Those moments of blocking seem to be odd choices on director Dante Santacroce's part, but they do provide some variety of sight-lines.

This is not a classic production of "Our Town" that will linger long in the memory of theatre-goers, but it is a competent showing of life in Grover's Corners in the early twentieth century. It would have come across as much better, I feel, in more attractive surroundings. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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