A Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden (1931) was performed in 1936 in “The Little Theater” located in Pop Hall, before it reached Broadway. The one act play focuses on a family traveling by automobile from Newark to Camden in New Jersey. Calling for minimal props and scenery as well as a character named the “Stage Manager,” the play may have provided inspiration for Our Town, which was first produced at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1938. Our Town is considered a metatheatrical, play where the show is set in the theater where it is performed but the year is always 1938.
Periwig Club Production of Our Town, 1966
Periwig Club Production of Our Town, 1993
The Periwig Club first produced Our Town in 1966 and again in 1993. Adhering to Wilder’s explicit directive, both renditions employed minimal scenery and props to help capitalize on the characters’ emotions. The play examines the lives of Grover’s Corners’ residents between 1901 and 1913 and shows their struggle against fate. Here, the role of the Stage Manager –a vaguely god-like being -- transcends realms and ultimately links the past to 1938, the cast to the crew, and the audience to the play. Directed by Penelope Reed in 1993, the cast led by Jerry Rudasil ‘88, Lauren Sypek ‘97, Max Ciano ‘96, Fletcher Smith ‘96, Chuck Socarides ‘95, Jay Kochar ‘94, and Nandini Ramnath ‘94, was the first to be highlighted by a computerized lighting system at the Kirby Arts Center. Reed’s strategic lighting emphasized the mood of each scene and created a memorable performance. Wilder’s work remains a fixture in the theater and is an integral part of The Lawrenceville School’s history.