In 2018 the author received an unexpected Facebook message from former cast members of his 1988 production of Our Town, celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of their production. The author was moved but also wondered about the educational dynamics of Thornton Wilder’s play, as well as how his directorial methods reflect his pedagogical beliefs. In 1988, it was fifty years since the first performance of Our Town in 1938; in what ways had the play, as well as America itself, changed over those years? Was Wilder’s iconic play still relevant? Could it stand up to such scrutiny? In this article, the author describes that his goal, inspired by Peter Brook, was to enhance the play’s immediacy, not alter it. The author's artistic process resulted in changing the play’s setting from the 1910s to the 1950s. The author used dramaturgical and improvisational techniques to explore the world of the play and find fresh solutions. Did the play hold up to such treatment? This article shows that Wilder proved as much teacher as playwright.

You do not currently have access to this content.