Friday, August 29, 2014

Our Town by Thornton Wilder Review

"Our Town was first produced and published in 1938 to wide acclaim. This Pulitzer Prize–winning drama of life in the town 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.

It is now reissued in this handsome hardcover edition, featuring a new Foreword by Donald Margulies, who writes, "You are holding in your hands a great American play. Possibly the great American play." In addition, Tappan Wilder has written an eye-opening new Afterword, which includes Thornton Wilder's unpublished notes and other illuminating photographs and documentary material."

Some play written by a dead guy. Guess what? Shakespeare is also a "dead guy" too, but at least, he has a better sense of writing a play than Thorton Wilder.

I'm not too interested in plays like Our Town. It's contemporary. Boring. Telling so much without telling something. (I'm more interested in other plays like The Midsummer Night's Dream, but at least, this one didn't make me want to kill myself like Romeo and Juliet). I guess I'm one of those people who really don't understand the "greatness" of this play? Or maybe I'm just not the type. I'm no fan of the ordinary, but the mystical. I guess that might be part of the reason?

(Please notice all those question marks).

Interestingly, it wasn't the play that got me interested and excited. It was actually the Foreword (Donal Margulies) that got me so interested in this play and so disappointed when I finished it. So disappointing. Maybe it is because the Foreword contained too many spoilers for Our Town. Maybe it was because it was too tad boring.

Act I starts off the beginning and the play. (There is a lot of parallels between Our Town and It's A Wonderful Life). I think Act I is a good strong part of Our Town. (Maybe it is because I can relate so well to the Act? Or maybe it is because I like the death parts and the Stage Manager just...) In my opinion, Act I is the best part of the book. The beginning is always the most beautiful, don't you think? (Don't you dare say I'm afraid of death).

Act II is named Love and Marriage. I think this is the second best part of the book. It is the time of triumph and joy. And of course, Bridezilla. Though it should be more like second-thoughts-zilla. George Gibbs and Emily Webb panic over the thoughts of marrying each other. I love the comments and little superstition things from the secondary characters. It is all very funny (maybe not for you) and happy. Happier than Act I, and definitely much happier than Act III.

The cycle always ends in death, remember? I totally understand the last Act, but I don't get why people cry. There is something that probably isn't there until you see it live, at a stage. I understand why the last Act is a big moment, but I don't feel it! Whatever they are feeling. I felt that part was a bit boring and dull (probably after watching It's A Wonderful Life so many times). 

Rating: Two out of Five (Two Point Five, but rounded to Two)

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