Updated: Sep 21, 2019
Life, every minute of it is worth celebrating, worth noticing, worth remembering.
A while back I had the pleasure of seeing Our Town, a play by Thorton Wilder, produced by The Theatre Institute at Sage Colleges. The plot follows a group of individuals, during the turn of the century, throughout three different chapters and 12 years of their lives in Grovers Corners.
The play's subtle yet powerful statement moved me. I say subtle because of the style of writing of the play, but please make no mistake, this play is genuine, powerful and impactful. So much so in fact that the addition of swear words, shocking imagery, gaudy sets or yelling would only dilute its meaning.
I won't outline the whole play or do a full literary analysis of it. I'd much rather you have the chance to experience it for yourself whether through reading it or viewing it live on stage. Instead, I'm sharing the messages that stood out to me.
This play is trying to teach us a lesson. Life, all of life, is worth living, a story worth being told.
In all three acts, we experience the lives of individuals in Grovers Corners. With very few sets and props on stage, the actors carry a majority of the responsibility for the storytelling and this cast did so beautifully. The lack of sets made even the smallest of interactions the focal point, which only further reflects the meaning of the play in my opinion. Well, done. We spent most of the first act watching families cook and eat breakfast, come home from work, travel to and from school, feed chickens and chat with neighbors about the weather. Sound familiar? And yet, as outsiders, sitting in theater seats we were intrigued and curious about what is to come.
Notice and appreciate everyday life. That's the message that flows throughout the entire play, in nuances, in actions and in words. In the first act, the audience learns that the people of Grovers Corners enjoy knowing the details of their town. Perhaps we should all take more stock in the details of our everyday moments.
In the second act, we were asked to remember how we felt when we first fell in love. We watched as two young people discover their love for one another and get married. We also heard trepidation from their parents as well as the intended couple. This act mentioned more than once, the importance of love, companionship and happiness in our lives. Have you told those you love how much you care lately? We often focus on what we don't have. Perhaps we should all be more in awe of the love we have and more devoted to nurturing it.
In the third and final act, we saw members of the community who have passed and heard their perspective on the living. They state that going and seeing the living is sad because of how blind everyone is to the real beauty found in the smallest of moments together. Perhaps we should put down our phones, stop running and rushing and stressing and fretting and instead focus on those we love. Spend time being slow and quiet and just enjoying all we have to be grateful for and the little moments we hold dear in our hearts.
Life is a gift. The joyful and sorrowful times, the seemingly mundane and routine moments, the smell of soap, hands touching or quickly exchanged smiles between two loved ones, the sound of our dog's feet on the kitchen tile, all of these moments deserve our reverence.
To the entire cast, crew and sponsors that made Our Town at The Theater Institute at Stage possible, thank you. Thank you for sharing your talents, for bringing this play to life in a beautiful way and for spreading a message we all need to hear in this, often "too busy," time.
Take a Breath: Savoring My Memories
There are a few moments in life where I remember saying to myself, remember this moment, take a mental photo of it and hold it close. Here are just two of those moments.
I remember our family movie days like they were yesterday. They would happen on rare and beautiful Saturdays. Those days where you climb out of bed with the purpose of relaxing and just being all day. One or two of us would enter the TV room and turn whatever Saturday movie marathon was on at the time. As we woke up, one by one we would join in, climbing onto the couches, snuggling up with one another under the blankets, like a litter of puppies. I remember looking around the room at my family, their loving and wonderful faces and thinking to myself, "Take a mental and emotional picture of this moment so you can remember how happy you are and how much you love everyone in this room. Hold it forever."
I've had this same thought in many moments with my boyfriend. Quiet moments and ones filled with laughter alike, where I squeeze his hand or steal an extra hug and kiss, capturing a mental and physical memory of the feel of his hand in mine, the safety of his arms around me and the joy in my heart. The pleasure of just being together, being loved and appreciated and loving and appreciating your other half.
I am so blessed with these moments. I do not share them to brag or to be too personal but to remind you to do the same. Take little snapshots, be present every day. Don't just rush through life, hopping from one "to do" to the next. If you do, you'll miss all the small and magical moments that shape who we are and who our closest community is.