This play is called “Our Town.” It was written by Thornton Wilder; produced and directed by A. ... In it you will see Miss C. ...; Miss D. ...; Miss E. ...; and Mr. F. ...; Mr. G. ...; Mr. H. ...; and many others.
There’s some scenery for those who think they have to have scenery.
Nice town, y’know what I mean? Nobody very remarkable ever come out of it, s’far as we know.
In our town we like to know the facts about everybody.
Want to tell you something about that boy Joe Crowell there. Joe was awful bright—graduated from high school here, head of his class. So he got a scholarship to Massachusetts Tech. Graduated head of his class there, too. It was all wrote up in the Boston paper at the time. Goin’ to be a great engineer, Joe was. But the war broke out and he died in France.—All that education for nothing.
Only it seems to me that once in your life before you die you ought to see a country where they don’t talk in English and don’t even want to.
Y’know—Babylon once had two million people in it, and all we know about ’em is the names of the kings and some copies of wheat contracts... and contracts for the sale of slaves. Yet every night all those families sat down to supper, and the father came home from his work, and the smoke went up the chimney,—same as here. And even in Greece and Rome, all we know about the real life of the people is what we can piece together out of the joking poems and the comedies they wrote for the theatre back then.
So I’m going to have a copy of this play put in the cornerstone and the people a thousand years from now’ll know a few simple facts about us.
They’re all getting citified, that’s the trouble with them.
I never told you about that letter Jane Crofut got from her minister when she was sick. He wrote Jane a letter and on the envelope the address was like this: It said: Jane Crofut; The Crofut Farm; Grover’s Corners; Sutton County; New Hampshire; United States of America.
What’s funny about that?
But listen, it’s not finished; the United States of America; Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the Mind of God.
Almost everybody in the world gets married,—you know what I mean? In our town there aren’t hardly any exceptions. Most everybody in the world climbs into their graves married.
The First Act was called the Daily Life. This act is called Love and Marriage. There’s another act coming after this: I reckon you can guess what that’s about.
Here comes Howie Newsome delivering the milk. And there’s Si Cromwell delivering the papers like his brother before him.
And how do you think I felt!—Frank, weddings are perfectly awful things. Farces,—that’s what they are!
Yes... people are meant to go through life two by two. ’Tain’t natural to be lonesome.
Don’t you misunderstand me, my boy. Marriage is a wonderful thing,—wonderful thing. And don’t you forget that, George.
George, I was thinking the other night of some advice my father gave me when I got married. Charles, he said, Charles, start out early showing who’s boss, he said. Best thing to do is give an order, even if it don’t make sense; just so she’ll learn to obey. [...]
Well, Mr. Webb... I don’t think I could...
So I took the opposite of my father’s advice and I’ve been happy ever since.
And now they’re bringing in these auto-mo-biles, the best thing to do is to just stay home. Why, I can remember when a dog could go to sleep all day in the middle of Main Street and nothing come along to disturb him.
It certainly seems like being away three years you’d get out of touch with things. Maybe letters from Grover’s Corners wouldn’t be so interesting after a while. Grover’s Corners isn’t a very important place when you think of all—New Hampshire; but I think it’s a very nice town.
The day wouldn’t come when I wouldn’t want to know everything that’s happening here. I know that’s true, Emily.
And, like you say, being gone all that time... in other places and meeting other people... Gosh, if anything like that can happen I don’t want to go away. I guess new people aren’t any better than old ones. I’ll bet they almost never are. Emily... I feel that you’re as good a friend as I’ve got. I don’t need to go and meet the people in other towns.
Oh, I’ve got to say it: you know, there’s something downright cruel about sending our girls out into marriage this way.
Ma, I don’t want to grow old. Why’s everybody pushing me so?
And George over there, looking so ...! I hate him. I wish I were dead. Papa! Papa!
Emily! Emily! Now don’t get upset...
But, Papa,—I don’t want to get married....
Sh—sh—Emily. Everything’s all right.
Why can’t I stay for a while just as I am?
This time nine years have gone by, friends—summer 1913.
Gradual changes in Grover’s Corners. Horses are getting rarer.
Farmers coming into town in Fords.
Everybody locks their house doors at night. Ain’t been any burglars in town yet, but everybody’s heard about ’em.
You’d be surprised, though—on the whole, things don’t change much around here.
No!—At least, choose an unimportant day. Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.