Importance Of Modernism In Our Town By Thornton Wilder

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“Do any human beings ever realize life when they live it?- every, every minute?” (Wilder 108). This is the question Emily asks at the end of the play, Our Town, when she realizes the importance of life and enjoying our present. Our Town is a play by a famous American playwright, Thornton Wilder. In his play Our Town, Thornton Wilder reveals the traditional American life in the early 1900s and the appreciation of life and ordinary objects by depicting the life of people living in a small town in Massachusetts called Grover’s Corners. Thornton wilder’s play Our Town is an example of Modernism because it breaks away from traditional ways of theater, uses simple and straightforward language and has an unusual plot. Thornton Wilder started…show more content…
Our Town was “a radically innovative way of presenting a drama” as it was different from other plays of that time and was well received by the audience (“Our Town”). Innovation is one of the major elements of modernism and Wilder effectively used it throughout the play. Our Town was a break from traditional theater and is still performed in many high schools. When many other theater productions were producing plays with luxurious sets and costumes, Wilder experiments with the set and uses “ no curtain, no scenery” and a few props (Wilder 3). This was a huge risk at that time, but was highly appreciated. According to a critic, “by stripping the play of everything that is not essential, Mr. Wilder has given it profound, strange, unworldly significance” (Brantley). Getting rid of the scenery places more focus on the characters making them a vital part of the play. Additionally, many actions throughout the play are pantomimed which allows the viewers to make use of their imagination. Thornton Wilder again brings innovation on stage by introducing an omniscient stage manager as one of the characters in the play. Usually, the stage manager is the person who blends into the background and is never seen on the stage, but that is not the case in Our Town. This play begins with its stage manager already on stage who introduces the setting and the characters. This allows major people

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