Time and Connection
Sandwiched between two saucy musicals, QCT’s production of OUR TOWN might have a tendency to disappoint the playgoers of our community. Please, please, please, attendees, do not let this happen! Thornton Wilder, the playwright, somber though he is, meant for this play to represent us—the way we are at every moment of our lives—and after.
Do not come to this play looking for huge elaborate settings. There are none. Wilder goes back to the primitive days of theatre, where imagination substituted for a flashy background on the stage. Do not be taken aback by this. It has a purpose.
OUR TOWN is a play about time—its use and misuse, and how the time that we are in now is very much like the times that have come before us. We live, we play, we work, we chat, we gossip, we sing—just as our ancestors did. We live our lives with time on our hands, never realizing what a valuable thing it is. And then—we run out of it.
It is also a play about ordinary things and how we connect with each other through them. You watch husbands and wives, children at breakfast, kids falling in love, and people working at their jobs—delivering milk, delivering babies, cooking a meal, snapping beans, singing in a choir, cutting a finger while peeling an apple, father-son talks, perpetuating a ritual, arranging a funeral—activities that have transpired throughout history. All of the characters but one (your job: look for this one) make a great effort to connect with each other.
To watch this play successfully, one must listen closely to the lines. The Stage Manager, a character that Wilder chose to represent the ancient Greek chorus, narrates the play and says some pretty profound things about OUR TOWN. So also do the characters as they interact with each other. Listen to the hymn “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds.” Wilder chose that piece of music to show how the people of OUR TOWN connect with each other.
In the words of John Cleese of the Monty Python show: “And now for something completely different.” That’s what you get in this summer’s little jewel called OUR TOWN. No weak plot and meaningless patter leading into big, bouncy song numbers for this play, thank you. OUR TOWN keeps it real. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!
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