“The greatest American play ever written"
- Edward Albee
The story of one small town is a portrait of the universal experiences of life, love, and death. Deceptively simple, this landmark of American drama proves to be a complex exploration of profound truths. Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Our Town invokes powerful storytelling alongside wit and humor to showcase what it means to be human.
What's Our Town About?
Considered by some to be the greatest American play ever written, Our Town is a three-act play by Thornton Wilder first published in 1938. Set in the fictional small town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire between 1901-1913, this play is about themes that affect every human being - life, love and marriage, and death.
Wilder has written the play to be metatheatrical, where the play comments on its own fictional status. This sharpens audiences’ awareness that what they are seeing is theatre and not real life. Devices such as “breaking the fourth wall” (speaking directly to the audience, thus breaking down the imaginary fourth wall that separates fictional worlds from reality) and plays-within-plays that act as a miniature portrayal of the theatre production being seen are often used in metatheatre. The set is minimal, and actors tend to pantomime rather than use props.