By Gail Siegel, WSU Performing Arts
PULLMAN, Wash. – Described by playwright Edward Albee as “the greatest American play ever written,” “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder will be performed Dec. 4-6 and 11-13 in Wadleigh Theatre, Daggy Hall, Washington State University. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 2 p.m. Saturdays.
“Our Town” is performed at least once a day somewhere in the world. The Pulitzer Prize–winning play follows the Gibbs and Webb families as their children George and Emily fall in love, marry and – in one of the most famous scenes in American theater – die, all in the small town of Grover’s Corners.
General admission is free for WSU students with ID, $10 for adults, $8 for seniors age 60+ and $5 for non-WSU students and youth. Tickets may be purchased in advance at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/835477 or locally at the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center (150 E. Spring St., Pullman) and BookPeople (521 S. Main St., Moscow, Idaho).
Additional fees apply to online ticket sales; free WSU student tickets require valid ID and must be obtained locally or at the door. Same-day tickets will be available at the venue beginning one hour before each show.
Intimate theater, universal experience
“I have wanted to do this production for a long time and thought it was a perfect selection to kick off our Black Box Classics,” said director Mary Trotter, referring to the new WSU Performing Arts (http://performingarts.wsu.edu/) endeavor to stage productions of timeless and beloved plays in Wadleigh, a small “black box” theater with flexible seating.
“I think one of the special things about our production is the space we are doing it in,” she said. “Wadleigh Theatre, an intimate thrust stage, allows the production to be even closer to the audience and bring them into the world of Grover’s Corners, which I consider to be ‘every town.’”
The audience is guided through depictions of ordinary life, love, marriage, death and eternity by the omniscient Stage Manager. Wilder’s masterpiece transcends its setting to convey the depth and universality of human experience.
Living in the moment
“It is a great reminder, and certainly one that I often need, to enjoy what is happening today,” said Trotter. “We are so often thinking (about or planning) our future or dwelling on the past. Living in the moment is not an easy task but is one that Thornton Wilder challenges us to do.”
When “Our Town” debuted in 1938, the New York Post proclaimed it “one of the sagest, warmest and most deeply human scripts to have come out of our theater…A spiritual experience,” while the New York Times called it “immortal” and “hauntingly beautiful.”
“Our Town” is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., with support from the WSU Foundation CougParents Program, WSU’s Office of Student Affairs and the Hilltop Inn of Pullman.
Gail Siegel, WSU Performing Arts, 509-335-8522, email@example.com