Our Town – Review

Saagar Sanghavi and Sydney Liao

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        On Mar. 22, the Cupertino Actors Theatre (CAT) brought Thornton Wilder’s Our Town to life in the first-ever production held in the Black Box Theatre.

        Narrated by the Stage Manager, senior Daniel Chong, the play introduces audience members to Grover’s Corners, a sleepy, fictional town nestled in New Hampshire, and its inhabitants. We watched the scenes slowly unfold as the characters go about their mundane activities. The play then follows the story of schoolmates Emily Webb (Samantha Kernaghan) and George Gibbs (Alex Gorvitovskiy) as they fall in love and get married.

        The plot itself was rather lackluster. We spent more than half of the play watching the townspeople move through their usual daily routines, waiting for something bigger to happen. Nevertheless, the exceptional acting compensated for the minor shortcomings.

        The black box theater setting was definitely a unique experience. The stage was surprisingly small, and at first, we wondered how the actors were going to perform in such a confined space. However, the actors skillfully made use of what room they had and staged scenes in a way that the audience from all sides could see what was going on.

        The simple set and lack of props (other than wooden tables and chairs) was unorthodox, but it did not hinder the performance. The actors mimed their interactions with the objects, and the audience was able to follow what was happening. While we would have appreciated if there were a few more props, the metatheatrical device of miming out any physical objects did direct attention to the characters themselves and their actions.

        The students seemed fully absorbed in their role and added a great deal of emotion to their delivery. We were not the only one close to tears during Emily’s final monologue; the gravity of the occasion, combined with the actors’ emotional performance, was moving. Additionally, the subtle humor embedded in parts of the performance was well executed.

        Our Town reminds us to appreciate and live every moment, and it is a worthy rendition to watch.

        Tickets for Our Town are on sale at the door or online at www.chscat.seatyourself.biz.

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