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Our Town

Our Town: A Play in Three Acts60. Thornton Wilder, Our Town

This sparse, simple play is set entirely in the small town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. The action, such as it is, centers around the Gibbs and Webb families, who have been neighbors and friends for many years. As the years go by, the two families experience both joy and sorrow, and the sensitive Emily Webb ponders the tragedy of most people’s inattention to the wonders of life.

Really, the whole play can be summed up by this quote: “This is the way we were in the provinces north of New York at the beginning of the twentieth century.—This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying.” It speaks to the heart, even without any grand emotional gestures or life-altering messages. It’s written in prose, but for me it had the effect of poetry. Even if I never read this play again, I think it will stay with me.

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