Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I guess Thorton Wilder doesn't suck

Let me explain, I HATE Our Town. I've worked on two productions and whie one was in high school the other was at Bay Street Theatre with an extremly talented cast and amazing designers. The set ( yes a set, it was a back wall and a floor) is still one of my favorites, it was a wood floor where the planking radiated from a centeral point and contiued up the wall with gaps between the wall planks to create a really cool lightbox which ended one of the acts with a sunset. And yet with all these things I still hated it. I never got the point of what Wilder was doing because I thought that it was the characters that mattered. That's not how it works, the ideas are important and the characters are just vechiles for them.
What made me realize this was not rereading Our Town, but reading another Wilder play The Skin of Our Teeth. Which sets you to care about the idea, primarlly the fact that no matter what the human race seems to survive and rebulid, but just barely. What makes it interesting is the first two acts take place before the impeding "end of the world" ( the ice age and the Biblical Flood respectivly) and the thrid takes place after it ( a pre nuclear era post aplolitic war ( the play was published in 1942). We see all these events in through the Antrobus family which is made up of Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, there two childern ( Henry and Gladys) and their maid Sabina. Its interesting cause it is a juxapostion of mid 20th century anachorism mixed in with thing like inventing the wheel and the alphabet. And the way that Wilder wrote it makes it apparent (at least to me) that the characters don't matter, in fact they don't change at all until the thrid act. Even so it made and interesting read and I would love to see it performed. So yeah I guess I need to reread Our Town and past the veener of the play that sentmentalizes life at the start of the 20th century. So I guess that Thorton Wilder doesn't suck.

3 comments:

Zeze the X said...

I miss my Chris Monster.

Chris said...

I miss my Amanda cat.

Laura said...

I love The Skin of our Teeth. You make some interesting points which remind me that right now I'm reading Lies My Teacher Told Me. Did you know that H.G. Wells wrote War of the Worlds to symbolize how the peoples of Hati and the Dominican Republic must have felt when the Conquistidors arrived? He was likening the native experience to the British when technologically advanced aliens appear out of nowhere and start killing them off. It's sad I could graduate high school and college and not make that connection.

How could anyone with "Wilde" in their name suck?