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The event happened on Saturday, 12th November 2011 in New York. The event dubbed “Our Town” was one of its kinds in the city. It was publicly advertised in the media and tickets were sold online. I managed to purchase the ticket to the rather professional event and I was ready to participate as the audience.
The Auditorium was fully packed and I was fortunate enough to grab one of the front seats. The play had not started yet and soft music was playing at the background: soft music was meant to calm and reduce any prevailing anxiety amongst the audience and the performers. Some of the performers were seen rehearsing hard while technicians kept on with testing the stage lights.
The stage was ready; the rehearsals were stopped and the background music was halted ready for Act one. A young man, Stage Manager, came to the stage and introduced the play. The play was about events that unfold inside a town taking into account the major challenges people face in each and everyday of their life. The scenes of ‘Gibbes and Webbs’ families who were getting ready to drop their children to school followed the introduction. Manager then took us through a normal day life of the town. There’s another scene at the church whereby Mrs. Webb, Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Soames were talking about Simon (a drunkard church organist).Simon was always the subject of the town gossip due to his questionable nature. This first act clearly depicts the life of the average family in an American setting (Wilder, act1).
Act two commences after three years has passed and George and Emily are busy planning their wedding. Emotions run deep and stress pile up. George seeks Webb’s advice who tells him to treat Emily like a property and never attend to her needs since by doing that they would live happy forever. This act mainly revolves around the issue of marriage and love. George becomes reluctant to marry while Emily tells her father that she is anxious about the whole issue of marriage but later they gain confidence and they get married by Manager who plays the preacher.
In the final part of the play, Manager introduces the scene as the town graveyard overlooking doodle corners. Craig, George’s cousin, and Stoddard who acts as the undertaker are seen carrying a coffin with the corpse of Emily who had died during child birth. In the meanwhile; Mrs. Gibbs, Mrs. Soames and Simon are playing the part of the dead who are observing the living: the gathering at the burial. As they wait eagerly for Emily to join them. Mrs. Gibbs then commence to explain to the fellow dead the cause of Emily’s death to which Mrs. Soames exclaims “ My! Wasn’t life awful-and wonderful?” This statement is taken to summarize the whole activities that people undergo while still “living”. Both the good and the bad experiences that people undergo are showcased in manner that makes people realize the real purpose of living. The “dead” makes us realize that we should be glad we are still breathing and enjoying life. The play goes on as Emily gets advice from Mrs. Gibbs to pick a day that was insignificant to her, if she really wanted to be relieved of her life moments. The reason as to why Mrs. Gibbs offers to give this advice was based on the mere fact that. The insignificant day, will not only relieve Emily’s of her past but also make her observe the day with the knowledge of the future (Wilder, act2)
Emily finally decides to choose her twelfth birthday as the insignificant day and immediately bursts into tears when she realizes how life passes first without even noticing. She cries when she reminisces how she took life for granted and even goes on to point out the things she could have done while she was still alive. She retorts that people even never take to look at each other and instead choose to ignore their fellow human beings. She then asks whether any living person ever notices everything as he or she lives and both Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Soames, in unison, answer “saints and poets”. The three of them then agrees that no one in life is fully accountable to whatever things he or she engages in. Simon (who died out of committing suicide) on the hand, thinks aloud and gets bitter claiming that life was full of lack of knowledge and blindness. He continues expounding on life and uses a star metaphor. He says that a star takes much of its energy and time trying to shine but a moment in time comes when it falls and disperses everywhere never to be recognized again.
As the play comes to an end, George collapses in tears at Emily’s grave and this makes Emily to feel sad and even wonders the reason barring the “living” from understanding. The play ends with the preacher, Manager, encouraging the gathering that the next day would be a whole new day and then immediately looks at us, the audience, and retorts that we should always live our lives each and every minute(Wilder,act3).
The plat comes to an end and the lights are put off at the stage while people are prepared to live. The play lasted for nearly three hours and it was a play worth watching. As we leave the auditorium, audience are heard having conversations in low tones of how we should start considering life as a precious gift and be always accountable of each and our every deed.
In conclusion, the play was truly an eye-opener to every one of us and I particularly was able to figure out the power of acting. Plays were the best method to convey a message.