When: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Sept. 26 2010
In the last year, many Triangle residents who make regular excursions to New York to take in theater have returned raving about an unlikely off-Broadway smash, the Barrow Street Theatre's production of Our Town. The reputation of Thornton Wilder's play, written in 1937, had suffered somewhat by decades of being force-fed to high school students, and his tale of turn-of-the-century New Hampshire increasingly came to be seen as quaint.
Little did we know: Those who were lucky enough to see this David Cromer-directed production rediscovered the power of this show. Eschewing period costumes and overt lighting effects, Cromer had his actors instead walk onstage wearing contemporary street clothes and perform what seemed like a workshop run-through that just happened to have about 200 people watching. But three acts and two intermissions later, shattered audience members were left reflecting on their own fleeting lives and marveling at the efficacy of Wilder's fourth-wall-breaking tactics.
In a sign that Cromer's tour de force is truly a landmark in the production history of Our Town, the Justice Theater Project is taking the unusual step of openly advertising that its own take is "based on the current off-Broadway production by David Cromer." Obviously, associating the new show with Cromer's carries risks, but the Justice Theater Project has a history of quality and commitment, making this production well worth a shot. It opens tonight at 8 p.m. and continues through Sept. 26. Tickets are $15 or $12 for seniors and students, and reservations are required.
(By the way, the New York production closes Sept. 12, after 18 months, making it the most successful staging of Our Town in the play's history.) —David Fellerath