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‘The Fourth Wall’ at Westside

April 20, 2018 GMT

One of the interesting things about theater is the differences in terms and tropes than that of real life. The fourth wall is a part of theater and literature where an imagined wall separates the audience from the actors. In literature it can be considered a glass ceiling. Readers are asked to join the story when a character breaks the glass ceiling or fourth wall.

A.R. Gurney’s production “The Fourth Wall” takes this idea and plays upon how much people feel unconsciously that we are being watched by some unseen person or force. Gurney has done many plays as a comedy of manners and melancholy undertones. His production of “The Fourth Wall” takes a look at theater cliches and the supposed fourth wall in which all action is directed in a play and begs the question, “If these characters were acutely aware of this wall, how would they react?” The play was exactly that.

The Westside Playhouse has been a part of Pocatello’s theater scene for more than 30 years. They are a completely volunteer company who asks local artists and restaurants to take part in their production. This evening The Sandtrap was the caterer for dinner this evening with drink service by Club Charley’s. The lobby artist was Gabrielle Sivitz.

The director for this production was Price L. Lassahn-Worrell, who did a great job pulling together the cast. Roger, who is increasingly worried about his wife’s obsession with the blank fourth wall in their apartment, was played by Brandon Stanger. His keenly obsessed wife Peggy, who is obsessed with the Democratic Party, was played by Deanna Chambers. Julie, the concerned, overly sexualized friend of Roger, was played by Tiffany Chandler. Professor Floyd, who is a man of the arts and hopes to give perspective to the unique environment of the play, was played by Skip Taft.

This cast worked extremely hard on this production because they had to throw out what makes them competent actors and over-act because of the strangeness of the wall. It was a lot of fun to see them fall into the part of obsession with the fourth wall and overthinking of what to say, which is common in the theater. We miss much of this as audience members. We suspend our disbelief when going to the theater because we want to escape our own reality. When honestly thinking about it, being a part of a play that is “real” would be odd indeed with the exposition and need to move.

This entire cast did a marvelous job putting on this performance. I highly recommend going to this play during this blustery April.

Emily Thornton is currently working on her Masters in Communication at ISU. She enjoys writing, racing after her son, and playing games with her husband.