Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. New York: Harper Collins Publishers Inc, 1985.
Type of Book: A play Number of pages: 181
In Our Town, each character struggles with time passing too quickly. The stage manager narrates the story and notes when time passes and how much time passes for the characters. At one point he forgets to look at his watch and misjudges time, showing that even the timekeeper himself falls victim to the passing of time. I believe that by writing the play Wilder contemplates whether or not human beings really appreciate the “precious nature of a transient life.” In Act III the dead souls emphasize this theme by disapproving and chastising the living for their “ignorance” and “blindness” is this old little town.
Our Town takes place in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, early on a May morning in 1901. Grover’s Corners is a little quiet town like Old Town Orcutt. It’s pretty slow and quiet there, nothing major ever happens. In the opening scene, the stage is largely empty, except for some tables and chairs that represent the homes of the Gibbs and Webb families, which is the setting of most of the action in Act I. The set remains sparse throughout the rest of the play. Act II takes place three years later, on George and Emily’s wedding day, with the stage still sparse except for a couple of chairs. Act III takes place nine years later, in a cemetery on a hilltop overlooking the town. The funeral party for Emily occupies the back of the stage, while the most prominent characters in this act, the dead souls who already inhabit the cemetery, sit in chairs at the front of the stage.
The main characters would be the stage manager, Emily Webb, and George Gibbs. The stage manager is the host of the play and the dramatic equivalent of an omniscient narrator. He exercises his control over the action of the play, by cueing the other characters, interrupting their scenes with his own thoughts and interjections, and by informing the...