Our town is a play centred around a small American town in the early 1910’s. The play has three (3) acts covering different stages of the Emily’s life. The first act centres around the early life of Emily Webb and others in the town. The second act centres around Emily and George preparing for their wedding which is an arranged marriage. The third is about Emily dying during childbirth. Throughout the play the author uses dramatic and literary techniques. Some of the techniques used are similes, a narrator and foreshadowing.
The first technique is simile. A simile is when you compare to things using like or as. This is used in our town several times. One example is when Rebecca says;
“Every day I go to school dressed like a sick turkey.”
This compares Rebecca’s clothes to that of a sick turkey. This is used well by the author as it allows the audience to have a more understandable approach to the appearance of Rebecca and means they can better understand how she appears and how she feels in the clothing.
This also means that the author is able to make connections between real life and the play. Another example is when Mrs Webb says;
“Breakfast is just as good as any other meal and I won’t have you gobbling like wolves.”
This is effective as it compares the way the children are eating to that of how wild animals eat. This allows the audience to better understand how the children eat and as to why Mrs Webb is annoyed at them.
Another is the Narrator. This is a very very important part of the play. The narrator or in this case the “stage manager,” is essential to the progression of the play. The stage manager gives all the information that could otherwise not be given to the audience. This may be essential to understand the play. It also provides information that would not be able to be expressed otherwise. This includes;
“This play is called ‘Our Town.’ It was written by Thornton Wilder; produced and directed by.”
This allows the audience to be introduced to the play and to gain information and background about the play. It also allows for more background to be given to characters and information around them.
“Want to tell you something about that boy Joe Crowell there. Joe was awful bright.”
This information would not otherwise be easily available from the characters and without it the play may lack some depth which this adds to it. It can also be used for setting a scene and giving information about the time or location of an event.
The Final device used in the play “Our Town”, foreshadowing. The stage manager references Doctor Gibbs death a few times. This is foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is to be a warning or indication of (a future event). This means it indicates a theme of death early in the play. This is correct as later in the third act Emily Webb dies during childbirth. Foreshadowing is useful as it allows the author to make it apparent that a theme or event is going to happen before it happens.
The author of “Our Town,” uses literacy techniques to engage the reader and put more detail into the play. The author uses simile’s, narrator and foreshadowing to make a better and overall more effective product that can be acted easily while still leaving a good final product. The use of these among other things is essential to the play to make the level of depth in the play that it would otherwise lack.