Minimalist production of ‘Our Town’ exercises audience’s imagination


Lola Chase

‘Store Manager’ (Coleman Daniel) scoops ice cream for young lovers, Emily (Sara Alnassiri) and George (David Johnson) in a performance of ‘Our Town’ on Oct. 13.

The Cosumnes River College Theatre Department offers an exclusive insight into love, life and death in its spectacular production of “Our Town” by Thorton Wilder, directed by Cheri Fortin.

The show follows the lives of residents in a small town of New Hampshire, Grover’s Corners, and there is much to learn about this simple place.

The trials and tribulations of each character is well developed by the playwright, and then portrayed onto the black box stage in a way that gave a telling and intimate connection between the actors, the set and the audience.

The show bridged the emotions of the actor to the viewer, whether it be joy, grief, confusion, guilt or love. It was easy to relate to the fictional world, despite it taking place in the early 1900s.

The show opens subtly with a chalk board, where the wonderful “stage director” describes the layout of “Our Town” and takes the audience on a journey to understanding their life through narration.

The set is minimalist, which gives freedom to enter the world of the actors’ imagination, as they often pantomimed actions and items instead of using props, relying on tables, chairs, doorways and a platform.

The most prominent set change included a ladder that attached to the doorways, allowing for the two main characters, Emily and George, to look out at the moonlight. The lighting of these scenes set the curious and romantic tone well.

The simple makeup was fitting for the characters, and the music was fitting when used, though this play often used silence as a strong suit. Some storm sound effects were overplayed and came across as unrealistic.

Three traditionally male characters of the play were played by women, and this showed to be a good choice.

There were things about the pacing that could have been better, as some moments that could’ve used a few pauses were glossed over so quickly. However, this could have been a choice in relation to the theme that people pass through life without truly experiencing it go by.

The play is split into three acts, Daily Life, Love and Marriage, and Death. The final act is very emotion-evoking, especially after developing a love for the characters, and the stage director gave an amazing monologue that moved some to tears.

This show is one that will provoke a lot of much-needed life reflection. There are showings on Oct. 20 and 21 at 7:30p.m. which are $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors.