[ books ] Our Town: A Play in Three ActsAuthor Thornton Wilder – Papercuts.co

Our Town Was First Produced And Published In To Wide Acclaim This Pulitzer Prize Winning Drama Of Life In The Small Village Of Grover S Corners, An Allegorical Representation Of All Life, Has Become A Classic It Is Thornton Wilder S Most Renowned And Most Frequently Performed Play


10 thoughts on “Our Town: A Play in Three Acts

  1. says:

    Read for class I enjoyed this WAY than I thought I would I expected it to just be boring Americana which is totally not my thing but the last act just totally blew me away It was profound and thoughtful and terrifyingly accurate, but very well done.


  2. says:

    So all that was going on and we never noticedOh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it every,every minute To answer poor dead Emily s question I know I don t Especially not today Not on this Fourth of July.Most Independence Days I think about hot dogs, potato salad, Souza, and fireworks And maybe for a brief moment about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.This year, though, I am thinking about everything we have lost Little towns like Our Town, eaten up by urban sprawl or abandoned to the ghosts of the plains Our sense of a common purpose Our civility Our truthfulness Our faith in our justice system to bring about justice Our belief that science and government can make things better Our openness to the strangers among us especially the children of strangers Our friendships with people who are different or who believe different things from ourselves And even our ability to agree about what flags should be honored and how our national holidays should be celebrated.The only hope I have is that, by being honest with ourselves, by spending a few moments this Fourth of July reflecting on all America has lost, we may perhaps realize now, this minute how wonderful our life on earth in our America, in our town really is.


  3. says:

    Does anybody realize what life is while they re living it every, every minute Thornton Wilder, Our TownIt s been years perhaps a decade or since I last read OUR TOWN I d forgotten how beautiful it is It is easy to see why this is one of the heavy hitters of the American Theatre Our Town has been called Wilder s hymn to ordinary lives, and so it is 81 years later this powerful piece of theatre has lost none of it s charm In OUR TOWN, Wilder expertly explores the beauty and sorrow of human life Wilder blends meditations on the ever evolving course of human existence with a heartfelt picture of life in small town America.The first act unfolds, depicting 24 hours in the life of this average American town as we slowly see the characters reveal their souls to us Wilder expertly blends comic vignettes that artfully show us the love, compassion and understanding that these characters are built upon.In Act II, Wilder explores Love and Marriage Once , the audience is transported back to events in George and Emily s life this time their wedding day We hear various characters opinions about marriage, which compels them to make their own judgment and promotes the idea that while marriage may be another part of daily life, each marriage is different from all the others, and no definition could satisfy everybody The third act takes place nine years later in the summer of 1913 The Stage Manager explains how things have slowly changed in that time, such as fewer horses on Main Street and people locking their doors at night He walks into the cemetery and points out the gravestone of Mrs Gibbs, Mrs Soames, and Mr Stimson Emily s younger brother have all died The Stage Manager explains how the dead don t stay interested in the living for very long They become weaned away from life on earth Soon we find out that Emily is about to join the dead After revisiting her life Emily sadly realizes life goes so quickly, and people don t realize it She wonders if humans ever realize the meaning of life while they actually live it It is here we witness the most tragic event in Our Town, George s collapsing in front of Emily s headstone, mourning his loss, their loss And in the end OUR TOWN serves up much than a pleasant, greeting card picture of old New England Wilder s soul stirring play is one that illuminates both the nobility and the pain in the fleetingness of human life.


  4. says:

    American playwriting at its best I think the most stunning thing is that this book manages to convey a deep sense of human tragedy without portraying people who rabidly abuse each other This is also why many hack directors not to mention high schools have been able to produce the work as a saccharine fairytale, and the bad reputation of this play can certainly be attributed to these careless people But you, my dear critical thinker you should read this.


  5. says:

    DON T READ THE FORWARD UNTIL AFTER YOU VE READ THE STORY.

    Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it every, every minute

    First published in 1938, OUR TOWN is a play by Thornton Wilder that delivers a hauntingly REAL look at life.and death.and love.

    ACT I begins on May 7, 1901 in the small town of Grover s Corners, New Hampshire It is a nice town with a nice mix of people Some are gossips, some have addictions and others have little disagreements and problems like most of the world as they go about theirdare I saymonotonous daily activities.

    At first I thought this play was a simple look at everyday life without much substance.and thought it a bit strange as I had never read a play where a stage manager narrates.

    ACT II jumps to 1904 with yet ordinary days of breakfast making, milk and newspaper deliveries, children off to school and men off to work We see young love in the making and attend a wedding We hear questions like, Do you think it s going to rain again Sound boring.well,

    ACT III.knocked my socks off Nine years have gone by and now it s 1913 So much has occurred.as you will see.

    OUR TOWN is a deadly cynical acidly accurate play

    OUR TOWN prompted me to add a new shelf today re read annually.and although there are many favorite books I can add, OUR TOWN is the story that made me think to add it.

    OUR TOWN is Haunting, Thought Provoking and Memorable.with a wonderful touch of Supernatural.

    Even if you don t like plays, you may want to check this one out It won t take long to read and worst case, will add another to your 2019 totals RECOMMEND


  6. says:

    Thornton Wilder s iconic depiction of life in an American small town circa 1920 Act One is centered around the mundane, everyday occurrences of lifegetting breakfast with the family, doing homework, milk deliveries, newspaper boys tossing the daily read onto the doorstep Act Two marks an important cornerstone of small town life a wedding And, Act Three brings all this living into focus in a poignant way What makes reading this all the moving, is that the way of life described has almost vanished entirely from our world I remember morning milk deliveries, but my younger sister, separated from me by only six years, would not Along with the point Wilder is making about appreciating the life you have, he made an unintentional one about appreciating the kind of life you have Deceptively simple enduringly rich.


  7. says:

    Winner of the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for drama.Occasionally a book comes along that makes me say, now this is why I read Thornton Wilder was perfect when he wrote this and the result was perfection Our Town struck every chord just right for me I grew up near a small town on a farm and I recognized this town, and I recognized these people Through the first two acts of this play I was loving it and thinking, this is the Americana that is fast disappearing, maybe already has Then act 3 knocked me flat I admit, I shed a tear What happened was unexpected, and the message that Wilder presented made me stop and think It caused me to reflect on my life and the people in it.I don t give many five star ratings, but this book is special, at least for me.


  8. says:

    I appreciate this play and every time I read it, and I have read it quite a bit It has been written that Thornton Wilder found the cosmic in the commonplace in Our Town , and that is indeed the case This play is a celebration of the everyday and mundane details of human existence And although we like to imagine that our lives are composed of things larger than the everyday exercise of living, we are wrong There are exciting and big moments in most lives, but that is the rarer action Most of the time we are going about our little sphere doing much the same thing, with the same people and Mr Wilder wrote a play that reminds us that this is not at all a bad thing.The three acts of this play are structured in a manner that allows them to encompass the most salient features of human life everyday living, love marriage, and of course death Much attention is usually paid to the third act of Our Town because it is here Wilder is at his most sentimental and also where he makes his point most obviously And I don t say that to detract from the play The third act is brilliant, and gets to me every time However, the first two acts are subtle worlds of genius that yield even greater rewards as one goes back and rereads them at later intervals in life.Many critics have charged the play with being sentimental and I think it is, and I don t think this is a negative attribute at all We should be sentimental about the things we love, and what a sad existence one has if they don t love life The real punch from this piece though is not from its sentimentality, but rather from the fact that we realize that we don t do what Wilder is urging us to do, even though we know we should Late in the play, the recently deceased Emily says We don t have time to look at one another If that was true in 1937, imagine how much true it is now And we know what she says is true, and we want to amend it, and for the most partwe don t There is no greater tragedy then knowing the correct way to do something, and then finding that we don t do it Our Town painfully reminds us of this fact of life.This play is worth reading, then reading again, and after another interval, reading again Unlike many works of drama, it is a satisfying reading experience, regardless of whether or not you see it as a performed play.As one character says, I can t look at everything hard enough Our Town does its best to get us to look at the things around us, and to appreciate them It is a lesson worth returning to over and over again in life.


  9. says:

    Okay, first of all because people will criticize me for it, and rightly so I have not seen this play I fully appreciate that plays are written in order to be viewed on stage, not on page, and that people who judge a play after merely reading it are probably the bane of a playwright s life That said, I feel that if there s any play that s could be seen just as well in the mind of the reader, it s Our Town. From the setting to the plot to the characters actions, the entire thing is almost austerely minimalistic, in a way that doesn t require strenuous use of the imagination Which I did enjoy about this reading mental viewing experience, since I felt guilty about not having seen it.Another thing I liked in this play is the continual communication with the audience The Stage Manager is, I guess, some metaphorical stand in for an angel, able to appear among us without our recognizing it, to play different roles among us i.e the Mr Morgan and the minister , and able to deliver a transcendental tones for the humans keen enough to hear him That type of narrator must have been innovative for the play s time, and I like what Wilder did with that The most impassioned response I could stir up at the ending, however, was a raised eyebrow I feel Wilder started off with an intriguing set up, and proceeded to careen downhill He did exactly what any self respecting reader was predicting he d do Yes, I should keep in mind that it was first produced and published in 1938 In context, I suppose the qualities of this play mean a lot than they do today But as to one critic s claim that he has transmuted the simple events of human life into universal reverie, I simply fail to grasp any genuine artistic profundity here He s trying, he really is you can tell in many places But I just don t think he pulls it off Example the ending references to the stars My boy Joel was a sailor, knew em al He d set on the porch by evenings an tell em all by name Yes, sir wonderful A star s mighty good company Yes, yes tis Sorry, but am I the only one who sees something that s trying to be Profound, and achieves only a scrabbling Pathetic I appreciate that he s trying to show how life is art, or should be seen as art The live every moment as though it were your last sort of message is obvious enough, and it s not lost on me many of my favourite ever works of literature, vis art and theatre share the same point And in its overwhelming or rather underwhelming simplicity, the entire play in every aspect is a challenge to the viewer to remember that the simple moments deserve our full attention At the same time, even with a killer cast, I have a hard time picturing this play as something to stay in the mind for than an hour afterwards I would like to watch it someday Still, there s plenty that make me appreciate life as art a heck of a lot than this American classic has done.


  10. says:

    Goodbye, Grover s CornersI saw a really terrible movie this weekend called Stardust I thought that it would be terrific since the cast is star studded and mostly because it was based on a novel by the very clever Neil Gaiman who I am a big fan of, Sandman, American Gods, Good Omens the Brakiri Day of the Dead episode of Babylon 5 for fans in the know But alas, the movie sucked although Deniro was funny Yarg.But the movie also stars Claire Daines who I used to be a big fan of in the series My So Called Life And then I got to remembering that the finale of that show was one of the best ever simply because it was not really meant to be the finale But, that s how life is The series ended with a telling of Thornton Wilder s play, Our Town That the series ended like this just stunned me It went like this if you care to know.Katimski Oh, you can remember it like this If you keep going downstage, you re going to fall _down_ Okay Oh, oh, oh,andcould you. stop acting Please Rayanne What Katimski Stop acting There s really no need for it You see, Emily is dead The life she had is over That s a prettybig deal I meanoh, gee whiz, she is just nowrealizing how precious every moment of that life reallywas And that she never really appreciated what she had.Just imaginewhat that must feel like, Rayanne pause Rayanne sadly I can t go on, it goes so fast, we don t have time to look at one another I didn t realize So allthat was going on, andwe never noticed Take me back.Back to the hill, to my grave But first, wait One lastlook Goodbye Goodbye, world Goodbye, Grover s Corners.Momma and Poppa Goodbye to clocks ticking Do any humanbeings ever realize life while they live it Every every minute Abyssinia No Saints and poets, maybe they do so.Rayanne I m ready to go back.Angela crying, chin trembling Were you happy Rayanne sadly No I should have listened to you But that s all human beings are Just blind people Rayanne turns and walks away Angela turns the other way and exits I remember seeing this play in high school and not thinking very much of it I guess I was just too young to understand But seeing this one axis shifting scene, the climax of the play delivered in it s most seemingly natural context, that of a high school drama production, really made me change my mind For some reason, after seeing Claire Daines in that movie, I was thinking over and over about that Our Town scene and lamenting that someone writing for television didn t have the wit or the where with all to try something so simple and wonderful like that again But, was it the storyline of the series that made that one scene feel even impacting, or did the scene from Wilder s play bring classic relevance to a silly teen drama Ah ha.I went to the bookstore that night and I bought a copy of the play In the introduction that very feeling is addressed, how many young people are introduced to this play when they are deficient in experience and short on attention People tend to lump it into a Kapra or Rockwell kind of kitsch At least, I fell into that trap.But now, reading it again closer to 40 makes me understand what a wonderful work of art that play really is The introduction calls it a great American play, perhaps THE great American play And then the writer of the introduction goes on to explain how he experienced the play back in 1988 or 89 with Spalding Gray as the omniscient Stage Manager Wow.Wow Just wow After you ve been blessed with a little perspective read also age and experience , every single meaning in the play that went right over your head at 17 hits you right between the eyes AND STICKSlike the banana in Swimming to Cambodia So, while I read the play I imagined Gray in that role and let Thornton Wilder take me to Grover s Corners for the mundane drama that is everyday life, for the metaphors that still resound today.And I loved it.I loved every character.Even the school teacher didn t see that one coming, did you Dan.I loved everything they did and everything they said.That a character can come in, be given all the aspirations and talents in the world then be destroyed by a few words from the Stage Manager dumbfounds me How terrible, how casual, how like real life.Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it No The saints and poets, maybe They do some.At the end of the Brakiri Day of the Dead episode written by Neil Gaiman, Mr Morden says, One does not go to the dead for wisdom It seems that Thornton Wilder would disagree.