The play is performed without the usual backdrops, furniture, and other props. The stage is practically bare except for a few tables and chairs. Even the dead people in the cemetery are shown sitting upright on a few rows of ordinary wooden chairs. It is remarkable how the audience can be beguiled into accepting them to corpses in their graves, especially when they are all talking to one another. One of the many functions of the Stage Manager is to explain where the characters are supposed to be. Otherwise, the audience would find it much more difficult to suspend their disbelief. As an example, the Stage Manager offers an extensive description of the cemetery on the hill. While somewhat informative, the description mainly serves to create the illusion that what the audience is looking at is actually a cemetery and the people sitting on the wooden chairs are former residents of Grover's Corners who are all now deceased.
It is significant that Wilder doesn't even call the Stage Manager a narrator or try to disguise him as one of the town's residents. The author makes it clear from the beginning that this is only a play, and yet he creates the illusion of an entire small New England town with time passing and people living out their lives.