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Our Town
Masterpiece Theatre Our Town
Essays + Interviews [imagemap with 7 links]
1 2 3 4 Essays + Interviews Subsections

Thornton Wilder
An archetypical American author, recipient of three Pulitzers, creator of Hello, Dolly!

... Wilder's breakthrough novel was The Bridge Of San Luis Rey (1927), an examination of the fate of five travelers who fall to their deaths from a bridge in 18th-century Peru. Seeking to discover meaning in the lives lost, a scholarly monk named Brother Juniper explores the lives of the five victims, an endeavor that leads to his own death at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition. The book earned Wilder his first Pulitzer Prize. (Originally filmed in 1929 by MGM, The Bridge of San Luis Rey is currently [September, 2003] in production as a new film starring Robert De Niro, Kathy Bates, and Harvey Keitel.)

Williamstown, Westport, the world...
A hodgepodge of Our Town history and happenings ...

... David Hays (founder of the National Theatre of the Deaf) described in Harvard Magazine (in 1976) what he felt when he saw a Gallaudet College (for the deaf) production of Our Town in 1963. "Jose Quintero and I had just completed a production of it at the Circle in the Square (in New York), but I thought theirs was more moving. There was something in the way the deaf actors expressed themselves that profoundly stirred me. Somehow they were able to clarify the play's meaning and its reach into the universal soul."

Paul Newman and James Naughton
The actor and director talk about translating Our Town to television...

"... I think a wonderful thing for students to do is read it, play a couple of scenes. When a student is doing Editor Webb, taking on the role of a parent, it works incredibly well. Seeing what the other side is like. But I think the play always has resonance for students. A guy in the audience at Westport said: 'I've seen this play done five or six times, and this is the first time I've ever seen it acted by adults...' "

OT: our town
What happens when Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, meets Compton, California's Dominguez High School?

... When Catherine decided to put on Our Town as the first production at the school in over twenty years, Scott immediately asked if he could bring his camera down to capture the experience. "... It seemed like there were so many different possibilities for a story. I never tried to raise money, or put a crew together; I knew that if any time was wasted trying to do all that, this moment was going to pass undocumented."

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