Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town". No doubt, I would much rather have gone on a weekend, but I couldn't, since I bought the tickets at the last minute. I could have and should have bought them earlier because "Our Town" was a play I have always wanted to see, and this time it was being staged by a renowned director and right in my backyard. What was it that prevented me from booking the tickets in advance? The answer is simple, and that answer, ironically, is also somewhat the theme of Wilder's play. I was so engrossed and overwhelmed by life's nitty gritty that I chose to put on the back burner something I valued and loved very much! While in the process of living life, we forget that there is only so much time we have on this earth. The play "Our Town" illustrates just that; life passing us by, while we mindlessly go about the daily chores of making a living and securing a future that may or may or may not come to be.
It is to Wider's credit that his play, written some seventy years ago, is as relevant to the audience today as it was then. The daily routines of the characters may be a shade different from ours, but their obsession with those routines are identical to ours. The town and the roles they play in it preoccupy them to such an extent that they forget to enjoy and appreciate their present until it's too late. The last scene in the cemetery is definitely the most poignant; I carried it within for the longest time.
"Our Town" could be anyone's town or community, and the everydayness that Wilder has so casually yet accurately embedded in the fabric of each scene is so easy to identify with. In fact, even the division of the play is in accordance with the stages of everyman's life: childhood, youth, and old age. It is in the depiction of ordinary everydayness that Thornton Wilder has masterfully made the commonplace sublime. The finiteness of human life as it plays itself out on the canvas of the infinite and unstoppable time is the story of each one of us, and Wilder's play brings this message home loud and clear to the audience even after sixty years.
Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning play is truly a classic, and watching it on stage directed by David Esbjornson was an absolute treat.