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Our Town: 09/16/10

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Our Town by Thornton Wilder is one of those American plays that you're just supposed to know. For whatever reason we didn't read it at our junior or senior high schools. I wasn't assigned it in college either. So it just sort of slipped by. And yet I knew it was a classic that I should have read; it's referenced all the time. It seems that whenever a play is shown in a film or television show, it's either Romeo & Juliet or Our Town.

The stupidest thing about me not reading it until now is that I love reading plays. My father did a lot of theater in high school and college and has these massive collections of plays. I can remember reading his books in front of the camp fire when others were toasting marshmallows for smores (and I love smores). So how I missed Our Town, I don't know. Shame on me!

One of my current reading goals is to stop compiling a wishlist without actually doing anything about it. If I want to read these books, I should make the effort to actually read them. That includes plays and the first play I chose was Our Town.

As soon as I started reading it and realized it was metatheater I was instantly and madly in love with the play. I tore through the play in one sitting and then went back and re-read my favorite parts.

Set in Grover's Corners, the play takes place on three different days in three different years. The Stage Director sets the stage for each of these eras, bringing the artifice of the play to the forefront and at least for me, inspiring self reflection and introspection on how fleeting time is and how artificial our lives sometimes are.

Best of all, I finally completely got "As the Day Runs Down." I had realized it was an homage to another story of some sort but I didn't recognize it. In my review I compared it to The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald but Our Town is the obvious fit. If I still had that issue of FSF around I would have re-read the story to compare it more closely with Our Town.

Comments (4)

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Comment #1: Friday, September, 17, 2010 at 01:41:36


My HS did "Our Town" my sophomore year. It was wonderful.

Comment #2: Friday, September 24, 2010 at 18:27:14


None of my schools did "Out Town." I'd like to see it performed some time.

Comment #3: Tuesday, September, 21, 2010 at 14:25:20

Carin S.

If you're able to find the late 80s/early 90s PBS version of this starring Penelope Ann Miller and Eric Stoltz and Sterling Grey, it always made me cry! Sadly, my VHS bit the dust many years ago.

Comment #4: Friday, September 24, 2010 at 18:30:42


Thanks. I will see if my library has a copy.

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