Not in Our Town, You Don't

PlayBlog   Not in Our Town, You Don't
Something unusual happened early in the first act of the Jan. 12 performance of Off-Broadway's acclaimed Our Town: someone in the audience heckled the action with a "Wha—?"

[caption id="attachment_4062" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Stephen Kunkenphoto by Aubrey Reuben"]Stephen Kunken[/caption]

Stephen Kunken, whose Stage Manager character is intensely aware of his surroundings in director David Cromer's environmental production that commingles actor and audience (in full house lights), made a note of the young man, in the middle of the second row, left side section.

A little later, shortly after the topic of "drinking in Grover's Corners" was addressed in the script, the same man, apparently a student and probably under the influence, stood and made his way clumsily across his crowded row in an attempt to exit. With the focus pulled, Kunken stopped the action, and told the fumbling theatregoer that, yes, it was indeed time for him to exit. After almost falling into actress Kati Brazda's arms (look out, Mrs. Webb!), and as Kunken led him to the door (with the help of Brazda and David Manis, who plays Mr. Webb), the man mumbled his displeasure at becoming part of the action. It wasn't Thornton Wilder's fault. Or was it?

At least a couple of people in the crowd wondered if the inebriated playgoer was a plant — part of the design of the famously meta-theatrical play. They wouldn't have wondered if they had heard the salty exchange between Kunken and the ejected guest in the lobby. Kunken later said, "He told me, 'I'll see you in hell,' and I said, 'That's fine as long as I never see you back here.'"

Coming immediately back on stage, Kunken, to the delight of the crowd, improvised a line. Apparently, yes, there is drinking in Grover's Corners, he said.

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