Exploring the significance of the mundane in Our Town


Ana López del Punta '23

Sacred Heart Greenwich’s production of Our Town examines the purpose of life and love.

As the Lennie and John de Csepel Theatre curtains opened this weekend, the Sacred Heart Greenwich Theatre Department welcomed its audience to the fictional community of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, from Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.  After rehearsing for three months, the cast performed for members of the Sacred Heart community and guests November 18 and 19 at 7 p.m.  Senior Maddy Abramson, who portrayed the Stage Manager, discussed how this play reveals the need to celebrate the beauty of everyday life.

An American classic, Wilder’s Our Town takes place in a small community in the early twentieth century.  Through his minimalist style in depicting Grover’s Corners, Wilder tells a shared story of people’s relationship with time and one another.  To contribute to this simplicity, Miss Michaela Gorman ’05, Upper School Theatre Teacher and Director of Theatrical Productions, and Miss Danielle Gennaro ’05, Bell Choir Director, Technical Director of US Theatrical Productions, and Perspectives Advisor, dressed all the actors in white and gold.  The Pulitzer Prize-winning play has three acts, “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Eternity,” each of which represents a complete cycle of life, according to stageagent.com. Most of the props in Sacred Heart’s production also referenced the passage of time.  Golden papers with dates lined the walls and the Stage Manager, who narrates the play, continuously checked the time on her watch. 

Sophomore Natasha Stewart ’25 and senior Molly Kriskey ’23 perform as Mr. Webb and Emily Webb, respectively.  Courtesy of Miss Danielle Gennaro ’05

Our Town centers around the story of George Gibbs and Emily Webb, neighbors since childhood, who develop a romantic relationship as teenagers, according to thorntonwilder.com.  Sophomore Moira Marangi and senior Molly Kriskey played George and Emily, respectively. 

Maddy in the role of Stage Manager, opened the play by directly addressing the audience and welcoming them to Grover’s Corners.  In this first act, which transpires in a single day, the characters perform daily activities, such as sharing breakfast with their family and reading the newspaper.  The following act occurs three years later when George and Emily prepare to celebrate their wedding.  Before they marry, however, the Stage Manager returns to George and Emily’s teenage years, recounting when they first fell in love.  

There is a nine-year time jump between the second and the third act, which takes place at Emily’s burial.  Dying after the birth of her second child, she does not find comfort or peace in death.  Even though the other spirits discourage Emily from returning to the land of the living, she resists and chooses to relive her twelfth birthday.  While perceiving the younger versions of herself and her loved ones from a new perspective, Emily learns that people fail to fully appreciate the joy of simply being alive. 

Senior Maddy Abramson ’23 performs a monologue as the Stage Manager.  Courtesy of Miss Danielle Gennaro ’05

“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?–every, every minute?,” Emily asks the Stage Manager.  “No.  The saints and poets maybe–they do some,” the Stage Manager responds.  These are Maddy’s favorite lines of the play because she believes they encapsulate the moral of Our Town.  She remarked that this play taught her to find meaning in the instances of life that seem insignificant at first glance. 

“The little moments–the breakfast conversations, the going off to school, the goodbyes, the coming home in the cold–those little moments are the sacred moments of our lives,” Maddy said.  “I think that is something we easily lose hold of.”

When Emily concludes her journey to the land of the living, the Stage Manager performs a monologue in which she says goodbye to the audience.  Because this is Maddy’s last play at Sacred Heart, she valued the opportunity to bid farewell through her character.  Maddy highlighted that Wilder’s play inspired her to become more acutely aware of the beauty of the mundane. 

“I think this was a wonderful play to be doing as my last one, because it is about the specialness of life,” Maddy said.  “It doesn’t have any superheroes.  It’s about regular people living regular lives, and the beauty of that.  Especially looking back now at my high school career, I’m realizing that I missed a lot of the beauty of the everyday because I was so busy.  It is important to hold onto this time while we have it.”

Featured Image by Ana López del Punta ‘23