CTC’s ‘Our Town’ leads Corsa and Bullock talk choices, characters, Wilder’s classic

RUBY WALLAU | Staff Photographer
Myles Bullock and Audrey Corsa play George and Emily in Chautauqua Theater Company’s production of Our Town.

Chautauqua Theater Company opens its first play of the season, Our Town, on Saturday. CTC’s conservatory actors Audrey Corsa and Myles Bullock play leads Emily and George Gibbs.

“I see a lot of myself in the younger Emily,” Corsa said. “I often thought of Emily’s dilemma in the end and realized that I would have done exactly what she did.”

Twenty-year-old Corsa is now entering her third year as a BFA student at Juilliard. She had jumped into the theater bandwagon after performing Howard Richardson and William Berney’s Dark of the Moon when she was 14 years old.

Bullock, on the other hand, used to be a liberal arts major, but after playing the comic relief in Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play for extra credit, he switched to acting.

“All the success I had in the realm of what I was doing [acting], I think it was the universe telling me that I should keep doing this and so I did,” he said.

He is now entering his second year at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s MFA Acting Program.

Bullock said he finds a vast difference between the minds of George and himself.

“We have been brought up in differing ways and have distinct circumstances,” he said. “I am constantly trying to put myself in experiences that I have no personal knowledge of.”

Both actors are keen on doing roles that require challenges and diversity.

“I want to explore the possibilities of the psychological intricacies of different characters written by some great authors,” Corsa said.

Emily and George have a tragic ending. The final scenes of Our Town are an emotional whirlwind, not just for the audience but also for the actors on stage.

“The play does not give George any words,” Bullock said. “He does not speak the entire third act, but there is a big showing of emotion when he breaks down towards the end.”

Playwright Thornton Wilder’s unique voice and attention to detail about people and life is prevalent through the entire play.

“A lot of people who have read Our Town feel like they cannot watch the ‘sappiness’ but they don’t realize profound truths in the play,” Corsa said. “The whole concept of time and of what Wilder does, and of what we are about to do on stage, is so true to real life.”

In their own lives, Corsa and Bullock have pieces of literature that have changed them for the better. Corsa cites Charlotte Brontë’s tragic romance Jane Eyre as her life-changer. It’s her high school favorite. For Bullock, it’s American playwright August Wilson and his Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences.

“Nobody wants a play about a perfect person,” Bullock said. “The most interesting plays are about flawed individuals and everybody in Wilson’s works are so beautifully and perfectly flawed. Their flaw is their perfection.”