The first time I heard Our Town was in 1993. I was living in Paris at the time, and I listened to the BBC World Service as it was the only station in English (but also brilliant - I still listen to it now). They broadcast the play over the air across three days, and I remember waking up at a silly hour to hear the final segment.
I finally saw it nearly a decade later when I off-handedly mentioned to my friend, David Bell, that Our Town was my favourite play. He quickly poured me a cocktail and introduced me to the amazing PBS broadcast of it (with Frances Conroy and...some other people).
I saw it live for the second time tonight with Rachel Klem in a little theatre pub (they are common here) on Upper Street called the King's Head Theatre, and it was fantastic. In this sort of setting, it was a casual and intimate affair, but if you know the play, you know it lends itself to that. I had to allow myself some leeway from the PBS masterpiece: I am pretty sure the accent mix of Southern New Hampshire has never had such a cosmopolitan twang, the racial mix of the time was certainly less progressive, and there were two actors who just didn't fit.
But all that quickly gave way to the play - and the play is really quite special. Perhaps it's my place in life, or the fact the play has been under my skin for twenty years, but I loved it. It's such a simple, earnest, beautiful 100 minutes. It's perfect.
To all the Londoners, I whole-heartedly recommend it. It's an easy and quick after-work thing to do (7:15-9:15, with interval), it's cheap, and it makes for a great night. The show is on through next week, and the details are here (don't worry about not being able to buy online anymore - there are definitely seats):
To everyone else, get a torrent of the PBS version and have an enchanting evening at home.
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