‘Our Town’ – from the directors programme notes
“Our Town” was written by American playwright Thornton Wilder in 1938, winning him the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Although not so well known here, it has been translated into more than 30 languages and is performed somewhere in the world every day.
Wilder stripped his staging back to a functional minimum; no scenery, few props, mimed actions, no frills or clutter. The clean stage kept focus on the characters’ interactions, not on the specifics of place. This was groundbreaking at the time when audiences were used to seeing lavish costumes and scenery.
The Stage Manager travels both in and out of the action of the play and guides the audience through a small New England town in the early 1900s as its inhabitants go about their everyday life. Although life was simpler then, this play is more than a nostalgic view of an earlier time, for this town is also our town; our own life. ‘Our Town’ illuminates the bonds that hold communities together through daily life and moments of crisis. Wilder delivers universal truths about what it means to be human and encourages us to realise that human life, however painful, dull or inconsequential, is a precious gift in its own right.
For this, our 10th production, it seemed fitting to go back to our ‘ roots ‘ and bring you a play about people just like us.