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Word Count: 850
Our Town An Anti-Realistic View In his play Our Town the three time Pulitzer Prize winning dramatist Thornton Wilder uses techniques somewhat unconventional and anti-realistic compared to the works of other dramatists Being more like a statement the plays theme is about enjoying the simple pleasures of life and daily routines Wilder employs many unconventional or anti-realistic ideas and techniques to further advance the plays universal theme and to incorporate audience participation The first technique that is distinguishable in the play is Wilders use of minimal scenery The only thing the audience sees is an empty stage at the beginning of the first act The scenery doesnt get much more complex from there Simple roof-like structures hanging from the ceiling employ houses Simple tables and chairs in the middle of the stage represent different rooms The audience is forced to use their imagination Even though there are no walls no windows and no doors the audience envisions a house Also forcing audience participation pantomime is generously used by Wilder throughout the play At one point in the play Mrs Gibbs and Mrs Webb snap string-beans together on a bench The audience sees no string-beans or knives Yet the women keep their hands moving as if there really were string-beans in front of them Even though these things are not visible the audience quickly realizes what they are doing And with the help of a few simple sound effects the audience discovers that there is a pot that the two ladies are depositing their final products in This scene might normally bore the audience or create a disinterest in the play if these objects were really there By not seeing these objects the audience obtains an interest in the scene by using their own minds to figure out what is happening Wilders third attempt to make the audience active participants in the play is the use of planted actors These planted
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