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Course & Subject Guides

University of Pittsburgh Stages 2017-2018 Season: Mainstage: Our Town

Resources relating to the productions of the University of Pittsburgh Stages 2017-2018 season

About Our Town

Thornton Wilder’s 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play made its debut at Princeton, New Jersey’s McCarter Theater before ultimately moving to the Henry Miller Theatre in New York City. In the New York Times review, Brooks Atkinson called Our Town “one of the finest achievements of the current stage…a hauntingly beautiful play.” Despite the myriad of interpretations of Our Town, most critics agree that the play is a microcosm of the life cycle: “[Wilder] is reminding the audience of how precious daily life is, because it determines our true reality…our enduring identity is not derived from the things and the events because they are familiar and repeated, but from our ever-new, ever-fresh relation to them.” Wilder also demonstrates that these aspects of daily life and their constant renewal are universal to all generations and cultures. While Act I covers “Daily Life,” Act II explores “Love and Marriage.” Once the audience is transported back to George and Emily’s wedding day, they hear various characters’ opinions about marriage, which compels them to make their own judgment and promotes the idea that while marriage may be another part of daily life, “each marriage is different from all the others, and no definition could satisfy everybody.”Our Town’s emphasis on the universality of daily life, conscious audience engagement, and minimalist theatrical style are a few of the signature techniques which have qualified Wilder’s work both at home and abroad as the “most representative and significant product of the modern American theater.”

- from the Thornton Wilder Society

Library resources