Well, I taped (and enjoyed) the recent PBS presentation of Paul Newman in “Our Town”. Die hard theatre guy that I am, I consider it one of the most important plays written for the American theatre. I then screened it – as a culture option – to a group of High Schoolers.
I’ll preface this with the fact that it was one of the shows that drew me to theatre in the first place. I was introduced to it my junior year of high school and – among other things like hunting downa strawberry phosphate to see what it tasted like – was deeply moved by it.
I’ve found that time has not altered my reaction to this powerful work. However, it is, without exception, apparently far beyond the grasp of this group of high schoolers.
So, what’s the big question? Have we changed so drastically as a society that we can’t grasp the importance of what this show has to offer? If Thornton Wilder thought we were living fast in the 30’s what would he think about the pace of society today? In short, how can someone sit there and not see how painful it is to relive the small moments of our lives because as they are happening; all these small moments, all manner of things are passing us, without our seening it, and we can’t imagine how important it is to cherish them? Are we now so fully invested in ourselves and our individual self-centered passions that we can’t see what’s put in front of us?
How can you watch the end of that play and not be brought to tears for the loss, for the darkness we stumble through every day? Even on some small level I would think at least one kid in 10 would be touched in some way.
Help me here – I’m ready to get so drunk that I can hang myslef in the attic.