In Our Town, how does Thornton Wilder make the stage manager a memorable, likable and trustworthy character?
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I don't have the text right in front of me, but Wilder describes the Stage Manager as a happy-go-lucky person...the one everyone knows and says "hello" to on the street. He is the narrator for this play, and has considerable flexibility in his movement. He speaks freely to the dead as well as the living, and seems knowledgeable of the motives/reasons for why people do and say the things they do. He acts as the go-between and explains the lives of the people in the town. He is friendly, knows everything, and seems trustworthy and easy to talk to-- the person everyone goes to for advice. Part of his knowledge comes from always being on the stage and observing the action of the entire play. He sees all, knows all. He is trustworthy as his character through his witty little stories and sayings is portrayed as having lots of common sense as well. He moves the action along and helps the audience understand what is going on in between scenes.
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There is little not to like in the character of The Stage Manager: he interacts with the audience in a friendly way; he becomes several characters; and he indicates to us, by the way he introduces the characters and events, that the small details of our lives are of great significance. At one point he says, “There’s an early afternoon calm in our town: a buzzin’ and a hummin’ from the school buildings; only a few buggies on Main Street—the horses dozing at the hitching posts; you all remember what it’s like.” He offers compassion and understanding, and we become part of the community; “his town” becomes “our town.” By breaking down the boundaries between theater and audience, The Stage Manager negotiates a relationship with the audience that celebrates the small details of their lives
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