A Review Of The Our Town By Thornton Wilder

The play Our Town was created by Thornton Wilder in 1938 and is set in a fictional town known as Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in the early 1900’s. The play Our Town has shown what is was like in the olden days, before mobile phones, electricity etc. While creating this play Thornton used dramatic and literary techniques to engage the audience and make to play more interesting. Directors of this play included literary techniques such as tone, and writing style and dramatic techniques such as abstract, flashbacks, characterisation and the theme. These all have different effects on the audience, some can have good effects, some can have bad effects, and some can have an emotional effect.

Our Town is a play that shows many different literary techniques to engage the audience. The main two shown in the play by directors are tone of voice and writing style. The tone of voice is a very useful literary technique as it shows how the character is feeling. When a character is angry you will hear their voice get louder and deep as to show they are angry or when a character is sad their voice would have a croak in it, they’ll sniff a bit or will have a sobbing tone to their voice. For example the narrator always has a calm, soothing tone which allows the audience to enjoy the play while being calm, or when Emily Webb is sad or crying you can hear that sobbing in her voice. Another literary technique is the writing style. Even though this play has been modified to make it more enjoyable for the twenty-first century the writing style has stayed the same. The characters still speak the same way they would if they were actually in that era. Examples of this are that the narrator has to interact with the audience and how the characters are always speaking formal.

The play our town shows many different dramatic techniques to engage the audience. The top three shown by the directors of this play are abstract, theme and mood. Abstract is where the character uses their imagination to make a prop, and they use abstract the most in the play as they have very limited prop. Examples of this are when they have a kitchen scene, they use imaginary cups, teapots, food etc. Also, the theme of the play. The theme of the play has a nice old town theme to it, like things were back in the 1970s. It did this with changing how the actors looked. There were the rich and posh, and the no so rich and posh. The posh and rich men wore dark vests and bright long-sleeved shirts with dark long pants and dark metallic shoes, and for the women it was usually bright ling dresses and showed very little skin. For the “not so rich and posh” they usually just wore long-sleeved shirts, pants that didn’t fit, and shoes that were ripped or broken. With the women they still showed very little skin, but their dresses were dirty and ripped. The mood of the play was changing a lot throughout the play. A lot of the scenes were meant to be happy and sweet but towards the end it began to get dark and depressing as the main character, Emily Webb, passed away.

The ways this affects the audience is remarkable. Each person had a different mindset and felt differently about the play. A lot of people felt happy at the beginning of the play, when everyone is happy and the story is playing out, however towards the end everything turned dark and depressing. When everything began going wrong and how the main character died really changed the mood of the audience and the play. For older audience this would have had a more emotional impact because it reminds them of how things were back then and how much has changed. The play was very engaging with the audience because the narrator was talk as if the audience not like other plays where it is just the cast. The narrator wasn’t the only thing that made this paly engaging, the way the actors flowed from line to line. The way they acted kept the audience engaged and how it didn’t get plain and there was always something happening.

In conclusion, the play was great. The way the director used their ability of creating the play to add literary and dramatic techniques and know how the audience will feel was used well. The tone of voice varied depending on how the character felt, the way the mood changed depending of the scene, and how these effected the audience was good and how it appealed to all audiences. 

16 August 2021
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