I’m going to be honest. Theatre isn’t always something I get excited about and it’s not usually high on my list of cultural “to-do’s”. Then I saw Soulpepper’s production of Our Town six years ago and my relationship with theatre was permanently changed. Despite the passage of time and a spotty long term memory, I still vividly remember the entire play, the last act especially. The chills. The near tears. The moment of enlightenment within myself. But most of all, it was the minimal yet absolutely brilliant stage direction that captured the most poignant vision of the afterlife that haunts me to this day. Let’s just say that it deeply moved me.
Last week, when an email landed in my inbox stating that Soulpepper is reprising the Dora Award-Winning production this season, I squealed and nearly fell off my seat. Written by American playwright Thornton Wilder, who received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1938 for the work, Our Town is a character driven three act play which chronicles the day-to-day lives of several generations of a small town’s citizenry in the early twentieth century. Wilder was dissatisfied with the theatre of his time and was dismissive of its emphasis on complex, dramatic storylines with archetypal characters. In his work, he emphasizes the simplicity and commonality of the human condition. At it’s heart, Our Town is a celebration of the mundane tasks and moments we can all relate to and expresses them with the utmost theatrical beauty.
GO SEE IT! OUR TOWN! YESS! DO IT.
Our Town will preview on April 7th and open on the 13th at the Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts, located at 55 Mill Street, Building 49 in the Distillery Historic District. For tickets and more info, visitwww.soulpepper.ca, and if you’re under 30 – there are $11 tickets available to you at www.stageplay.ca.
~ Olga Barsky