Shortly thereafter, the big moment arrives I mean: could you be. I am now; I have always been. The scene shifts back to the day of the wedding. George and Emily—both nervous and both wondering whether they should go through with the wedding—decide to proceed after each talks with a parent. Wedding marches play at the beginning and end of the ceremony, and George and Emily become husband and wife.
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Act Three: "Death". Nine years pass. It is now the summer of The stage manager says many changes have taken place.
Her Town Too
For example, farmers now come to town in Ford cars, and people lock their doors at night. He shows the audience the cemetery, located on a peaceful hilltop from which visitors can see for miles around. Off in the distance are Lakes Sunspee and Winnepesaukee. Tombstones in the cemetery date back to Also among the dead are Doc Gibbs, Stimson, Mrs.
Soames, and Wally Webb, who died when his appendix burst while he was on a trip to Crawford Notch. The dead are sitting upright and erect, like tombstones, in rows of chairs on the front of the stage. It is raining. Sam Craig, her cousin, also enters. While they talk, Stoddard tells him Emily died having her second child. The dead then begin to speak with one another. Gibbs tells Mrs. Soames that Emily died in childbirth. Soames says Emily feels uncomfortable, nervous, as the newest among the dead.
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It was a pre -audition?! Afterward, I realized it was for real—then I got nervous. I also got the part. A double-exposure image from the production of Our Town in which Annie Graves in wedding veil portrayed Emily; Thornton Wilder far left at the Peterborough Players c. On top of that, there was the theatricality of it all. Dialogue to memorize, stage directions and blocking, and daily notes—alongside prickly personalities and backstage romances—all packed into a few weeks of intense rehearsal.
On opening night, I was terrified. We performed in the round, and as my feet hit the slender boardwalk that led to the center of the old barn theater, I left my body, looking down on the scene in a moment that was straight out of Our Town. And then I remembered who I was: Emily. This was My Town. The play used few props, and broke the fourth wall when the character of the Stage Manager spoke directly to the audience in our production, he addressed my parents on opening night: Good evening, Mr.
by Mordechai Gebirtig, translated by Murray Citron
And here, Wilder opened us wide. Devastated by her own death and the pain she is causing George, Emily begs the Stage Manager to let her relive just one day. Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough. I spoke her lines every night. Every night, they broke me in two. The characters use typical country vernacular, which makes the play more authentic in regards to small-town life.
In order to help the audience feel more involved in the story, the Stage Manager breaks the fourth wall by directly addressing the audience. The fourth wall is the imaginary wall between fiction and reality and also what separates the audience from the play in this case. The story of the play is set in the early s, a time of increasing immigration and industrial developments. From to , immigration soared from 3. Many immigrants came to America primarily because they saw it as a country of opportunity, particularly economic opportunity.
Gibbs is returning from the Polish Town after attending to a woman with twins, which suggests that health complications had existed. The early s was also a time of great industrial changes. People began to lock their doors at night even though no one had been burglarized so far.
Early on in the play, the Stage Manager encourages the audience to ask Mr. Webb questions about the town. During the Great Depression, many Americans lost their jobs; family income decreased and because of that many families fell apart. Despite the negative impact of the Depression and increasing global tensions, Wilder wanted to remind people to find joy in the smallest events of daily life, despite the harsh realities of the world outside.
After graduating at the top of his class with plans to become an engineer, Joe entered the war and died in France. This is especially important and very relevant because World War II was on the horizon in Many of the audience members during the late s were also nostalgic for what used to be before the war and the Great Depression.
The tragic had no heat; the comic had no bite; the social criticism failed to indict us with responsibility. Now that we have addressed the matters of plot, story, and social context of the play, we come to the analysis of its content. In a play, or any art form, be it poetry or painting or architecture, content is the meaning of any given art piece. Content is the message the composer of the piece conveys to his audience.
Content is also the themes present in a play, themes that could either be extremely personal, meaningful to one person, or those that are universal and transcend cultural, political, and geographic boundaries. Throughout the play, Wilder explores the ephemeral nature of human existence.
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The use of plain, ordinary clothes for all the characters—even the ubiquitous Stage Manager dresses as if he had picked his clothes at the last minute—and the austere set design of the play emphasizes how much the characters are prodigal in using their time; the audience sees as the characters see, which is not much because the characters are always in a rush in completing their daily routine.
Gibbs hopes to go to Paris one day, but she always rationalizes the delay by convincing herself that will always be time to persuade her husband of it, and she dies without ever accomplishing that dream. Wilder is never preachy about the message he wanted the audience to leave with, and he is successful in a large part because he is subtle, yet never understated.
One of the central points of the plot, the romance between Emily and George, is the pinnacle of human intimacy: a marriage, a type of bond where the couple vows to be with each other until death pulls them apart. In the final act, Emily yearns to be with her family once more, to be among her loved ones. Through this play, Wilder expresses that human relationships and the joy they bring give life a reason to be lived. In fact, when one watches the play, the line between the audience and actors is blurred, and one forgets that they are viewing a literary creation.