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Our Town : A Play in Three Acts, Acting…

Our Town : A Play in Three Acts, Acting Edition (original 1938; edition 1939)

by Thornton Wilder, Frank Craven (Adapter)

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2,895371,996 (3.66)87
Title:Our Town : A Play in Three Acts, Acting Edition
Authors:Thornton Wilder
Other authors:Frank Craven (Adapter)
Info:Coward-McCann, Inc w/Samuel French, Inc (1939), Edition: 1st Ed, Paperback, 117 pages
Collections:Your library

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Our Town by Thornton Wilder (1938)

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It’s a regular little town in the US a hundred years ago. It’s an extraordinary little town in the US a hundred years ago. It’s very ordinariness makes it extraordinary. As is, Wilder hints, all life. To walk. To talk. To eat. To drink. And, perhaps most of all, sharing this amazing life with others. Read this play and you will remember to be alive. To everything. ( )
  debnance | Jan 18, 2015 |
I read this back in high school, but recently decided to read it again. Though the ending tends to pull at my heartstrings more than just a little bit, I have always thought that it was beautifully written. I love how Wilder is able to make the audience get into the minds of the main characters and help us live vicariously through them as their emotions run the gamut from extreme happiness to discovering the reality of our real purpose in life. ( )
  sealford | Dec 27, 2014 |
wilder does a lot of really unusual things in this play (radical even?) that i find interesting. i can't say that i understand the importance of it, but it certainly seems, as a reader, that having virtually no scenery and sparse dialogue is supposed to bring it down to the basics. the focus isn't on the set and the curtain and the props because they are nonexistent (or almost so) and so a reader or audience member can give attention to his point - that we don't appreciate the small things in life - and listen to the characters without distraction. so i think it was interesting, what he did, but i'm not sure that the play itself was. i'm sure i liked it more this time around than when i last read it (middle school? high school?) and it's alright, but not something i'm really excited about. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Dec 7, 2014 |
Probably the worst story I've ever read in my life. Supposedly the story is such that anyone could identify with it. Are you serious? Yeah maybe if you're white hetero american. Universal themes! Ha! It would at least only be boring if people didn't praise it for these things. This story just reminds me of all the things I hate in life and makes me want to die, which I don't think is the point it was trying to make at all. Why would I ever want this to be my life. Also thanks for making the character I could most identify with (not much anyways) the alcoholic priest who killed himself. I don't think that was in the author's vision. What a presumptuous douche.
Ps, yes I've seen the play and yes my point still stands. If doing a play with minimalistic props and setting makes a good play alone, that's not saying much in our towns favor. ( )
  locriian | Oct 27, 2014 |
Read this in high school and liked it, but enjoyed it even more this time.


In our town we like to know the facts about everybody. (Stage Manager, 7)

Everybody has a right to their own troubles. (Dr. Gibbs, 54)

Gosh, if anything like that can happen I don't want to go away. I guess new people aren't any better than the old ones. I'll bet they almost never are. Emily...I feel that you're as good a friend as I've got. I don't need to go and meet the people in other towns. (George, 70)

I've married over two hundred couples in my day....Once in a thousand times it's interesting. (Stage Manager, 82)

Now there are some things we all know, but we don't take'm out and look at'm very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain't houses and it ain't names, and it ain't earth, and it ain't even the stars...everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. (Stage Manager, 87-88)

Childbirth. I'd forgotten all about that. My, wasn't life awful [With a sigh.] and wonderful. (Mrs. Soames, 93)

Live people don't understand, do they?
No, dear - not very much. (Emily and Mrs. Gibbs, 96)

I can't bear it. They're so young and beautiful. Why did they ever have to get old? Mama, I'm here. I'm grown up. I love you all, everything. --I can't look at everything hard enough. (Emily, 105)

I can't. I can't go on. It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another.
I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed....Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. (Emily, 108)

From the Afterword:

"I feel that my whole life has been an apprenticeship to writing for the theater. You see (eagerly) imaginative story telling consists of telling a number of lies in order to convey a truth; it is a rearrangement of falsehoods which, if it is done honestly, results in verity." (Wilder, 151)

An archaeologist's eyes combine the view of the telescope with the view of the microscope. He reconstructs the very distant with the help of the very small. (Wilder, 154)

...a series of interpolations in the First Act remain; each one of these has the character of amiable dribbling, robbing the text of its nervous compression, from which alone can spring the sense of Significance in the Trivial Acts of Life, which is the subject of the play. (Wilder's note, 1938, p. 162) ( )
  JennyArch | Aug 5, 2014 |
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Original title
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Important events
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Awards and honors
To Alexander Woollcott of Castleton Township, Rutland County, Vermont
First words
This play is called "Our Town."
Emily: Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? - every, every minute?

Stage manager: No. (Pause) the saints and poets, maybe - they do some.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
This short play seems simple at first, but is actually has a lot of depth to it. It is about the typical life in the small and quaint town of Grover's Courner, New Hampshire. The characters are very genuine. The main theme of the book asks what the purpose of life is; I think the message is to enjoy the life you have and to not waste it because it will be over before we know it. Don't take life for granted. Do something with your life. I loved reading this play because of its message and the particular way the play gets that message across.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060512636, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:59 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

This beautiful new edition features an eye-opening Afterword written by Tappan Wilder that includes Thornton Wilder's unpublished notes and other illuminating photographs and documentary material. Our Town was first produced and published in 1938 to wide acclaim. This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of life in the small village 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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