OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), born in Madison, Wisconsin, and educated at Yale and Princeton, was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works explore the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience.
This timeless drama of life in the mythical village of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, has become an American classic with universal appeal. Thornton Wilder’s most frequently performed play, Our Town appeared on Broadway in 1938 to wide acclaim, and won the Pulitzer Prize. From the very beginning, Our Town has been produced throughout the world.
Our Town explores the relationship between two young Grover’s Corners neighbors, George Gibbs and Emily Webb, whose childhood friendship blossoms into romance, and then culminates in marriage. When Emily looses her life in childbirth, the circle of life portrayed in each of the three acts of Our Town–growing up, adulthood, and death–is fully realized.
Wilder offers a couple of chairs on a bare stage as the backdrop for an exploration of the universal human experience. The simple story of a love affair is constantly rediscovered because it asks timeless questions about the meaning of love, life and death. In the final moments of the play, the recently deceased Emily is granted the opportunity to revisit one day in her life, only to discover that she never fully appreciated all she possessed until she lost it. “Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you,” she says as she takes her place among the dead.