On the first day of rehearsal, we talked about the play’s relevance to Rosebud, to the modern world and more. We talked about the fact that Thornton Wilder somehow found language for the unique place each one of us holds in our blink of a lifetime. And his conclusions are so open-ended, so wonderfully human. Our Town is a celebratory play that finds it’s inspiration in the everyday that holds us in common. It is so deftly written, filled with searing revelations that we've all had in those moments where we've opened our eyes to the drama of our lives.
The story, like most of ours, is simple. Two families live side by side in a small town in New Hampshire called Grovers Corners. A boy and a girl grow up side by side and get married. The play moves through the most important seasons of life - the growing up, the falling in love and the dying. And the story is told by the middle-aged, the young and the wise - each generation holding a different often humorous point of view, colliding into the lives of the couple of kids at the centre of the story. The wonder of it is that everybody’s story can be found in the pages of the script. That’s maybe why this play is one of the theatre’s greatest classics - produced over and over again. It’s astonishingly simple, a prophetic observation of the richness of our lives. Every life has drama.
It’s so strange to be caught in that blur, realizing that the present is the past in a heartbeat - in a failed heartbeat...
There comes a time when one realizes that all of this present is just life, and it’s all really only about living and loving. Thousands of souls living and loving, planting gardens in the spring, trimming rose bushes and collecting berries in the summer, raking leaves in the fall, waiting for spring while keeping warm in winter. And, if they are blessed, they get to do it with someone. They get to share it with people they love more than life - with children who live from the fruits of their labor, with a lover whose face never tires to the sight, with parents whose lives continue to engage.
I am struck by the fact that we spend most of our lives creating some kind of heaven, some kind of momentary bliss, be it a meal, a garden, a newly painted room, a new pair of shoes. We spend our lives making the act of sustenance mean something, last longer.