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Thornton Wilder Play Festival comes to Crossings

ZUMBROTA -- The annual Thornton Wilder One-Act Play Festival will take place May 1 and 2 at Crossings at Carnegie. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

Words Players Theatre is presenting three Wilder plays in the spirit of "Our Town," the Wilder play which, Crossings spokesmen said, "changed the landscape of American theater by using a bare stage, with actors that portrayed a series of characters, without using props or costumes and with a script that had no traditional 'plot.'"

The power of actors alone surprises most people, they pointed out, because audiences have been accustomed to "realistic" theater that has all those accessories.

The performance is part of a six-year project to produce all of Wilder's short plays. Last year the troupe presented three pieces from Wilder's collection, "The Seven Deadly Sins." This year the actors are offering a few more.

• "Bernice," which deals with the sin of pride, examines the differences and similarities between an established "man of means" and his maid, both of them criminals.

• "The Drunken Sisters" deals with the Three Fates of classical mythology and the deadly sin of gluttony.

• "Someone from Assisi," a play about a priest, some nuns and a crazy woman, offers a surprising look at lust - "not from the perspective of breathless passion, as Hollywood so often portrays lust, but from the simple and quiet perspective of the years-later results of that sin," spokesmen said.

According to director Daved Driscoll, "Whether we have a traditional view of morality or not, we in America have a pretty traditional view of what we call sins. Wilder has us look at the different things in us that might be gluttony or lust or pride."

Though the plays are not done as a theological undertaking, Driscoll said, "self-examination is part of what goes on in art."

The performance will include "Childhood," from a series of Wilder plays on the "Seven Ages of Man."

"It is a somewhat eerie look at the childhood view of life and death, family, old age. We often take an adult-sized view of children, and we usually view them comically. Wilder takes childhood's view as seriously as he takes the view of adults - and just as realistically. It becomes difficult to tell which is which," officials said.

Area actors performing in the shows will be: Zumbrota - Marie Marvin, Brian Adams, Ronda Sand, Lori Rauen, Anita Allen, JC Koepsell, Pam Shaw; Pine Island - Emily Lindberg, Joel Starks, Randy and Laura Torgeson; Pilot Mound, Minn. - Colum, Brenden and Hannah Driscoll; Rochester - James Scudamore

Tickets are $14 in advance, $16 at the door. Visit Crossings at 320 East Ave. or call (507) 732-7616. For more information, go online to