Our Town
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Ron Severdia

Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is the perfect drama for the spring holiday season because it takes us away from the exterior hustle and bustle of life and focuses on a more spiritual center within each of us. In keeping with this focus, Ross Valley Players follows Wilder’s wishes to have a very stark stage.

“Each individual’s assertion to an absolute reality can only be inner, very inner,” said Wilder. “And here the method of staging finds its justification – in the first two acts there are at least a few chairs and tables; but when Emily revisits the earth and the kitchen to which she descended on her twelfth birthday, the very chairs and table are gone. Our claim, our hope, our despair are in the mind – not in things, not in ‘scenery.’”

Our Town takes us back in time to Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in 1901. It was a time in America’s history when people lived their entire lives in the town where they were born. Everyone knew each other and there was a contentment to remain where everything is known.

Yet even in Grover’s Corners the people seem to rush through life without much thought or appreciation of what they have. Only in death do they realize all the small things in daily life that they took for granted – the simple pleasures of a family meal or the ability to go into ourselves and meditate on one of life’s mundane tasks like putting on a pair of socks.

Our Town is a very sensuous play because it forces us to focus on these simple pleasures and inward journeys. In a Biblical sense, it shows us that “the Kingdom of Heaven is within” each of us. In the worldly sense, it shows us that we need to slow down in order to really live – to pay attention to life’s details.

Directed by Robert Wilson, this production of Our Town has an excellent cast that draws you into this uniquely American drama, which at the same time plays a very universal cord.

For tickets or information call (415) 456-9555 or visit www.rossvalleyplayers.com.

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