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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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Title:Our Town : A Play in Three Acts, Acting Edition
Authors:Thornton Wilder
Other authors:Frank Craven (Adapter)
Collections:Your library

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Our Town by Thornton Wilder (1938)

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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 |
You would think that a three-act play about everyday life would be boring. It isn't. The techniques employed by Wilder makes it unique. Obviously, one must see the play. Reading it doesn't do it justice. An examination of humanity in all its foibles, prejudices and virtues. A hymn to the common American. Wonderful. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
When a friend had to read this for a class assignment, I decided to reread it. Actually, I'm not sure I ever read it before. I knew that the Stage Manager had the lead role, but I may have picked that up through osmosis.
Interesting play. Unconventional play. Worth reading, and I have it on good authority that there's a very good film of a live performance that JoAnne Woodward directed and her husband played the Stage Manager in. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Nov 5, 2013 |
This three act play depicts everyday and ordinary life in a small New Hampshire town called Grover's Corners between the years 1901 -1913. The Stage Manager narrates the story to the audience, as well as interacts with the actors. I remember seeing Thornton Wilder's play acted out on stage many years ago. It's a very easy-to-read text which all of a sudden surprises you with some really profound ideas. Ordinary life is actually quite extraordinary...As the stages of life are cycled through, the question is asked, "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? A book that offers something for younger (adult) readers and older alike; I think middle school and high school students would enjoy reading this aloud. ( )
1 vote YvetteKolstad | Apr 24, 2013 |
Yyyyyyyeahhhhh, so this is pretty much the play version of a Norman Rockwell painting, right? I mean...terribly sentimental and conservative and folksy? Is there something more in his other plays? I should have read Skin of our Teeth, I heard there was a dinosaur.

I can't remember anything I've read where I felt an author was trying this hard not to startle his audience. This is drama for the rest home.

Two stars instead of one because fine, I'm not heartless, there were some sweet moments. But yeesh...that don't make this no bullshit. Bring back Eugene O'Neill.

Never mind: one star instead of two because the more I think about this play, the more I hate it. ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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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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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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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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