Sunday, April 22, 2007

Weekly Artistic Experience: Our Town

I am en route to this week's artistic experience, which is the Pulitzer-winning play "Our Town", at Langham Court Theatre. I do not know how exactly to appreciate a play - so I will do my best by treating it critically as I would a poem: watching for analogy, identifying plot and theme, symbolism and the significance of lighting. Or perhaps this is too left-brained and it would be better to just soak it in and let it lead my emotions. Or maybe a bit of both.

* * *

The curtain has closed to a rousing ovation. In the final act, one of the characters, who died while giving birth, is given a chance to re-live one day. She chooses her twelfth birthday, but is agonized to find that her mother cannot hear her. Her mother and father are bustling about, but the family never takes a few moments to *be* with one another. Deeply upset, she leaves life early and returns to her grave.

Is this not strikingly similar to our own age? We spend morning til evening bustling about, yet rarely do we take even a few minutes to be present to one another, to enjoy each other's presence.

Wilder's aim with this play was "to find a value above all price for the smallest events of our daily lives." With the poignant final act, he succeeds beautifully.


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