Tonight at 7:30 in Ujima's TheatreLoft, the newly formed Buffalo Public Theatre -- a collaboration among Kelli Bocock Natale, Loraine O'Donnell and Ujima Theatre -- will produce its first event, a reading of Thornton Wilder's masterwork "Our Town." The play is a poignant exploration of life and death in America told through the lives and stories of a group of small-town citizens. Despite its apparently optimistic tone, it is as moving a look at what makes American life tick as anything by Arthur Miller or Edward Albee.
My favorite part (and I'm not nearly alone in this) has always been the farewell monologue delivered by Emily, whose ghostly form returns to visit the town after her death and finds the experience too difficult to bear:
"But first: Wait! One more look. Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by Grover's Corners... Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking...and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. ...Do human beings ever realize life while they live it? — Every, every minute? ...I'm ready to go back...I should have listened to you. That's all human beings are! Just blind people."
Ain't that the truth.