Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back Story: About a simpler time

In 1938, Thornton Wilder wrote a complex, but seemingly simple, play about a simpler time and place. He called the play "Our Town." It's about a small town in New Hampshire during a period from right after the turn of the century to just before WWI, around the time the automobile was making its appearance. While maintaining the universal theme of birth, life and death, it was already, at the time of its writing, a lament about a lost way of life.

Fast forward to small town Ohio, 2012. I am writing this on a computer the size of a spiral binder. It has a Japanese brand name, but it was manufactured in China. I ordered it over the Internet. It is so powerful that a couple decades ago its technology may have been considered top secret due to its possible military applications. That too would have been a simpler time.

As I write this, remote controlled drones, piloted from just a few miles from here, are flying over lands a half-a-world-away, alternately spying on and killing our perceived enemies. In the play there is a line about how young men from the town who had never been more than 50 miles from home gave their lives to maintain the Union during the Civil War. When I am finished writing this, I will click on an icon on the computer's screen and it will be posted to an Internet site where a billion people worldwide will have access to it.

Other than the birth-life-death cycle, it is hard to find commonality with life in 1901, or in 1938 for that matter. But the play has legs and our local troop of actors, Centre Stage, did more than justice to it in the performance I saw last night. I heartily recommend it. There will be two more performances on next Friday and Saturday nights. This however, is not my review; it's just my way of noting the irony of how life in this country has changed over the course of 100 years - a lament, perhaps. I hope to post a review of the performance later this week.


1 comment:

Kay Reimers said...

Great comments, it's all true. Also add that our vanishing sense of community. Looking forward to your review.