Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1938, Our Town is a classic American play by Thornton Wilder that still strikes an emotional chord with audiences worldwide. The play talks about living each moment and appreciating the good things around us while we still can. It was first staged on Broadway at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey in 1938. Soon after, it made its Broadway debut with Wilder playing the Stage Manager, who introduces the town and characters to the audience, for the initial two weeks of the play. Our Town is currently being staged as part of the Shaw Festival 2016.
Our Town at Shaw Festival
The play is set in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners and several truths of the human condition are highlighted through the lives of the inhabitants of the town. The most enduring one is the love story between Emily Webb and George Gibbs as well as the stories surrounding their families. Through the various stages of their lives, the play questions how much we value the seemingly small details of life and the greater meaning they have in the larger scheme of things. The play takes us through the relationship of Emily and George from their childhood to love and marriage and eventually death.
Importance of Enjoying the Moments
Emily and George and their families are ordinary people who are representative of many others of the human race. They have their own inter-personal relationships, strengths and flaws as well as dreams and aspirations as they go about their lives. It is through the death of one of the central characters that Wilder raises a pertinent point. This haunting portion of the play also has a very moving passage that tells us to appreciate each small moment and things that we usually take for granted.
The play has been directed for the Shaw Festival by Molly Smith and she has brought her own fresh perspective to this classic play. In the past, Smith has delivered several amazing takes on classic American theatre and she has done the same with Our Town. The set has been designed by Ken MacDonald with original music and sound by James Smith. You can watch the play at the Royal George Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake where it is being staged currently with shows going on till October 15, 2016. The play is recommended for those aged 11+ and the running time is around 2 hours and 25 minutes with one intermission.
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