Huntington’s ‘Our Town’ is your kind of play

In “Our Town,” the character played by Therese Plaehn, center, asks, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?”

Initially, the Huntington’s incredible production of “Our Town” feels like a sweet, schmaltzy, deceptively simple look at small town life. Nothing much happens — or does it?

Director David Cromer strictly adheres to playwright Thornton Wilder’s instructions to use minimal props and set. Audience members, seated as if in a crowded town hall, are forced to create their own visions of Grover’s Corner, N.H. The Stage Manager presides over the audience and the town’s residents as they explore the joy, sadness and mundane nature of existence.

The evolution of the town’s women is what makes the experience so fascinating. With little more than a change of clothes, Mrs. Gibbs (Melinda Lopez) and Mrs. Webb (Stacy Fischer) age with eerie authenticity. Therese Plaehn delivers a gut-wrenching turn as Emily, while Marianna Bassham redefines excellence with her simple, stirring portrayal of Mrs. Soames.

With 32 actors traipsing around the small performance space, it’s hard not to agree with the Stage Manager’s contention that “whenever you’re near the human race, there are layers and layers of nonsense.” But there’s so much more.

Cramer’s “Our Town” enables you to see the cracks in life’s facade — for better or worse. Was life simpler in 1901? Were people kinder? As Emily asks, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?”

Sounds heady, but it doesn’t have to be. Wilder’s words are breathtakingly brought to life. It’s up to you what you do with them.

    ‘Our Town’
    Through Jan. 27
    BCA Calderwood Pavilion
    527 Tremont St., Boston
    $15-$75, 617-266-0800
    
www.huntingtontheatre.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died Sunday from prostate cancer…

Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial,…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Parenting

Is camp right for introverts?

We ask an expert for tips on sending your introverted child to camp

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.