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Life is rushing by, but take time out and see 'Our Town'

By by Dianna Wray
Aug. 31, 2011 at 3:31 a.m.


IF YOU GO

WHAT: "Our Town"

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: The Vexler Theatre, 12500 N.W. Military Highway

COST: $14-$20

WHAT: "Hank Williams: Lost Highway"

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m., Sundays through Sept. 4.

WHERE: Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway, Houston

COST: $23

WHAT: "Ancient Ukraine - Golden Treasures and Lost Civilizations"

WHEN: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday-Monday, through Sept. 5.

WHERE: Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston

COST: $12-$18

WHAT: "Hair: The Tribal Rock Love Musical"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: City Theatre, 3823 Airport Blvd., Suite D, Austin

COST: $15-$40

Life goes fast, as fast as an arrow. If you haven't learned this for yourself, go see Thornton Wilder and let him tell it to you in the Pulitzer Prize winning play, "Our Town." The famed playwright will do a way better job than I could ever do.

There are some things, especially the literary-type things, that people love to exclaim over. Sometimes, that's because it's actually worth something. Mostly, it's just because they want to be the kind of people with the kind of taste that appreciate "that sort of thing."

Wilder's play about the lives of people in a small New England town at the turn of the 20th century is famous, but it's actually renowned for the very good reason that it's wonderful. It's as simple as that.

The play is set in the town of Grover's Corners, and it's about life, the heart-wrenching beauty that we're constantly losing sight of in the midst of this business known as living.

Wilder wrote the three-act play in the 1930s, and, disgusted with the scenery-heavy productions popular then, he designed a play where the work would have to speak for itself.

Thus, the stage is bare, and there's no scenery when the stage manager, a sort of one-man Greek chorus, comes on and introduces the audience to the little New Hampshire town.

"You have to love life to have life, and you need to have life to love life," he observes.

The play is centered around George and Emily, two young people who grow up, fall in love and marry over the course of the play.

It's life that the play is about, the fleeting joy of this spin around the planet we're lucky enough to be on.

A character (and if you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it by saying who) dies in the third act. From a perch in the grave yard, the character realizes the most important thing in life is to stand back and appreciate it, even the simplest of things, because it all goes so fast.

"You know, there are some things that we all know, but we don't take them out much and look at them," the stage manager tells the audience.

He's right. So take a moment and let Wilder really show you what he means - go see the Vexler Theatre's production of "Our Town" in Austin.

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