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Three Plays: Our Town/The Matchmaker/The Skin of Our Teeth (Perennial Classics)

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Three of the greatest plays in American literature collected in one volume This important new omnibus edition features an illuminating foreword by playwright John Guare and an extensive afterword for each play drawing on unpublished letters and other unique documentary material prepared by Tappan Wilder.Our Town—Wilder's timeless 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning look at love, Three of the greatest plays in American literature collected in one volume This important new omnibus edition features an illuminating foreword by playwright John Guare and an extensive afterword for each play drawing on unpublished letters and other unique documentary material prepared by Tappan Wilder.Our Town—Wilder's timeless 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning look at love, death, and destiny is celebrated around the world and performed at least once each day in the United States.The Skin of our Teeth—Wilder's 1942 romp about human follies and human endurance starring the Antrobus family of Excelsior, New Jersey. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1943.The Matchmaker—Wilder's brilliant 1954 farce about money and love starring that irrepressible busybody Dolly Gallagher Levi. This play inspired the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly!.


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Three of the greatest plays in American literature collected in one volume This important new omnibus edition features an illuminating foreword by playwright John Guare and an extensive afterword for each play drawing on unpublished letters and other unique documentary material prepared by Tappan Wilder.Our Town—Wilder's timeless 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning look at love, Three of the greatest plays in American literature collected in one volume This important new omnibus edition features an illuminating foreword by playwright John Guare and an extensive afterword for each play drawing on unpublished letters and other unique documentary material prepared by Tappan Wilder.Our Town—Wilder's timeless 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning look at love, death, and destiny is celebrated around the world and performed at least once each day in the United States.The Skin of our Teeth—Wilder's 1942 romp about human follies and human endurance starring the Antrobus family of Excelsior, New Jersey. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1943.The Matchmaker—Wilder's brilliant 1954 farce about money and love starring that irrepressible busybody Dolly Gallagher Levi. This play inspired the Broadway musical Hello, Dolly!.

30 review for Three Plays: Our Town/The Matchmaker/The Skin of Our Teeth (Perennial Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    I loved Thornton Wilder's The Long Christmas Dinner; especially the way he managed to use the essential unreality of the stage to telescope time so that generations pass before our eyes, partaking essentially of the same Christmas dinner. So it was with considerable excitement that I picked this book up at a second-hand bookshop. I am sorry to say that it was somewhat of a let-down. Wilder uses the same technique of breaking up the illusion of verisimilitude that the proscenium stage provides, wh I loved Thornton Wilder's The Long Christmas Dinner; especially the way he managed to use the essential unreality of the stage to telescope time so that generations pass before our eyes, partaking essentially of the same Christmas dinner. So it was with considerable excitement that I picked this book up at a second-hand bookshop. I am sorry to say that it was somewhat of a let-down. Wilder uses the same technique of breaking up the illusion of verisimilitude that the proscenium stage provides, which essentially makes the viewers into voyeurs peeping into someone else's reality through the "fourth wall": and this is his intention. Fed up with the traditional methods of how plays are produced, acted and directed, the playwright here makes sure that a "realistic" approach to his play is impossible. He does this through minimal and stylistic stage settings, stylised performances, shifts in time (back and forth) and the direct interaction of the characters with the audience. Two of the plays also contain a stage manager who talks to the audience. Non-realistic plays are the norm in the traditional theatre of the east, so I have no problem relating with that (in fact, the stage manager here is a direct relative of the Sutradhara of the Sanskrit plays) - what spoilt the experience for me was the technique applied across three plays proved "too much of a good thing". I liked Our Town; The Skin of Our Teeth, mildly; and by the time I got to The Matchmaker, I could not finish it. But partly, I think, the fault lies within me. These plays are very hard to visualise and are ideally meant to be seen and not read. So - three stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    original readings: The Matchmaker & The Skin of Our Teeth May, 1982 and January 2018 I was on a kick looking for monologues in his short plays and got into reading the longer ones as well. Our Town June, 1982, June, 2015 (I was Emily Webb. I can still remember a hell of a lot of those lines) original readings: The Matchmaker & The Skin of Our Teeth May, 1982 and January 2018 I was on a kick looking for monologues in his short plays and got into reading the longer ones as well. Our Town June, 1982, June, 2015 (I was Emily Webb. I can still remember a hell of a lot of those lines)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    One major thing that is pointed out in this play is that people walk through life without ever really seeing anything, and this is shown on many an occasion, not really being noticed until it is too late to do anything about. People that are alive do not have the worries that life will be short because they are still living it. They do not worry about spending each second like it was their last because it is not. They live life on a day to day basis, not worrying about whether or not they live i One major thing that is pointed out in this play is that people walk through life without ever really seeing anything, and this is shown on many an occasion, not really being noticed until it is too late to do anything about. People that are alive do not have the worries that life will be short because they are still living it. They do not worry about spending each second like it was their last because it is not. They live life on a day to day basis, not worrying about whether or not they live it to its fullest because there will always be more time. The worst part is that life could end at any minute. And when that person has not lived a full enough life, they will have no one to blame but themselves for not appreciating it when they had it. It is often said that people do not miss things until they are gone, and this is one more example. If only people could miss it when they still had it, then losing it would not be such a tragedy because they would have been happy either way. *I thought this was an excellent review by SHAYLYN on AMAZON.com my thoughts exactly!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tony Perona

    Thornton Wilder is a genius, and one of my favorite authors. I got this book to re-read his brilliant play, “Our Town,” for a project I am working on. It is every bit as good as I remembered it! While I didn’t re-read “The Skin of our Teeth” or “The Matchmaker” This time around, they are equally brilliant. Highly recommended!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dan Lafferty

    Our Town - 5 Stars Skin of Our Teeth - 5 Stars Matchmaker - 3 Stars

  6. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Review for Our Town Read/posted 11/29/18 5 out of 5 stars There's not one idea in this play I haven't thought hundreds upon hundreds of times. Problem was, they always remained brain thoughts, never quite reaching my soul. Thornton Wilder put them in soul language for me. Now I understand my thoughts, because I understand that they can't be understood. A friend who recommended Our Town told me: "It's a classic." She's right. And I know why it's a classic to me. Quoting from John Guare's foreword, "T Review for Our Town Read/posted 11/29/18 5 out of 5 stars There's not one idea in this play I haven't thought hundreds upon hundreds of times. Problem was, they always remained brain thoughts, never quite reaching my soul. Thornton Wilder put them in soul language for me. Now I understand my thoughts, because I understand that they can't be understood. A friend who recommended Our Town told me: "It's a classic." She's right. And I know why it's a classic to me. Quoting from John Guare's foreword, "The response we make when we 'believe' a work of the imagination is that of saying: 'This is the way things are. I have always known it without being fully aware that I knew it. Now in the presence of this play or novel or poem (or picture or piece of music) I know that I know it.'" Review for the Skin of Our Teeth Read/posted 12/22/18 3 out of 5 stars Okay, what just happened? I did NOT understand that play. Period. Three stars because it was mostly entertaining and sometimes hilarious. But I'm afraid I sadly missed the point Wilder was trying to impress upon us. I also have a niggling feeling I would have disagreed with him had I understand what he was saying. Sad. I suppose not everything can be as amazing as Our Town! Review for the Matchmaker Read/posted 12/23/18 4 out of 5 stars All I can think just now is: I-have-to-see-this-play-I-have-to-see-this-play-I-REALLY-MUST-see-this-play! It's a truly ludicrous farce, worthy of all effort put forth on my part to see it. Envisionimg it as I read was difficult because I've seen very few plays --- and those they were only non-professionl school plays. Also, there are several scenes of utter chaos in which I was hopelessly lost, trying to keep all the characters straight while remembering exactly how the stage was set up. In conclusion: I-have-to-see-this-play-because-I-almost-split-my-sides-with-laughter-as-I-read-it. Highly recommended! ~~~~~~~~~ This is an excellent collection of Thornton Wilder's plays. I'm new to his plays --- who am I kidding, I'm new to plays in general! --- and for me this served as a great introduction. Happy reading!

  7. 4 out of 5

    وائل المنعم

    I'd like to say that Thornton Wilder as a playwright didn't interest me very much although i liked "our town" very much. It's one of the cases of "the author of one work", The skin of our teeth was very bad, i didn't like It at all, and the matchmaker was an ordinary farce. As a novelist i did't read any of his well known novels yet. Here's my reviews about each play I'd like to say that Thornton Wilder as a playwright didn't interest me very much although i liked "our town" very much. It's one of the cases of "the author of one work", The skin of our teeth was very bad, i didn't like It at all, and the matchmaker was an ordinary farce. As a novelist i did't read any of his well known novels yet. Here's my reviews about each play

  8. 5 out of 5

    Travelin

    I seldom read plays and "Our Town" is a probably why. Despite the simplicity of its staging, it was altogether too difficult to follow without a stage or movie equivalent, even after a second reading decades later. But as extraordinary as the movie was, I needed the play to make it even better. Thornton Wilder's introduction to his writing life was equally extraordinary, although he says "I never did anything original, but I always enjoyed myself." At least one of these other plays became a reno I seldom read plays and "Our Town" is a probably why. Despite the simplicity of its staging, it was altogether too difficult to follow without a stage or movie equivalent, even after a second reading decades later. But as extraordinary as the movie was, I needed the play to make it even better. Thornton Wilder's introduction to his writing life was equally extraordinary, although he says "I never did anything original, but I always enjoyed myself." At least one of these other plays became a renowned movie. I should watch that first, or even Pirandello or the other European playwrights Wilder credits. I've left a comment about the slightly haunting quote "They just don't understand", in the comment section for the book, just in case the teenagers need fodder for their painful papers.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Fun fact about "The Matchmaker" - it was a re-written version of "The Merchant of Yonkers", which was based on a German comedy by Johann Nestroy, "Einen Jux will es sich Machen, which was in turn based on the English play by John Oxenford, "A Day Well Spent." It also drew on material from Molier's "L'Avare". And "The Matchmaker", of course, was the basis of the musical "Hello Dolly." As a straightforward farce, "The Matchmaker" is the odd-man-out in this threesome: Our Town and The Skin of Our Te Fun fact about "The Matchmaker" - it was a re-written version of "The Merchant of Yonkers", which was based on a German comedy by Johann Nestroy, "Einen Jux will es sich Machen, which was in turn based on the English play by John Oxenford, "A Day Well Spent." It also drew on material from Molier's "L'Avare". And "The Matchmaker", of course, was the basis of the musical "Hello Dolly." As a straightforward farce, "The Matchmaker" is the odd-man-out in this threesome: Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth are more serious, more symbolic, and more experimental. The Skin of Our Teeth was particularly tantalizing, although I won't claim to have fully grasped its meaning.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    I really enjoyed and found relevence and quality writing in the first two plays, but the third "The Matchmaker" which eventually became the musical "Hello Dolly" was not very interesting. It was a commercial play written to make money, whereas his other plays were written with certain amounts of integrity and artistic craftmanship (along with having something to say.) Reading them all together was acctually a bit confusing. I would like to read his novels to get a better grasp on him as a writer I really enjoyed and found relevence and quality writing in the first two plays, but the third "The Matchmaker" which eventually became the musical "Hello Dolly" was not very interesting. It was a commercial play written to make money, whereas his other plays were written with certain amounts of integrity and artistic craftmanship (along with having something to say.) Reading them all together was acctually a bit confusing. I would like to read his novels to get a better grasp on him as a writer. Over all not even close to my favorite playwrite.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I wanted to read “Our Town” because I’ve seen and heard bits of it in popular culture but never knew the play in its entirety. Of course, the bits I had known — Act III quotes about the precious and fleeting nature of life — are the bits worth knowing. The frame and premise are solid, and I can see why this is an influential play, but the first two acts were grating for the outdated, narrow depictions of ordinary days and life milestones that are intended to be universal yet obviously are not. I I wanted to read “Our Town” because I’ve seen and heard bits of it in popular culture but never knew the play in its entirety. Of course, the bits I had known — Act III quotes about the precious and fleeting nature of life — are the bits worth knowing. The frame and premise are solid, and I can see why this is an influential play, but the first two acts were grating for the outdated, narrow depictions of ordinary days and life milestones that are intended to be universal yet obviously are not. I read the other two plays and all of the prefaces and commentaries because, well, I’m a bit anal about finishing books (no matter how long it takes). Each of these plays break the fourth wall, to varying degrees, and with varying success. “The Matchmaker” is a silly farce with some memorable, funny lines but mostly not. I had never seen the movie “Hello, Dolly,” which is based on the musical, which is in turn based on this play (but changes and adds many things). So now I’ve done that too. Barbra Streisand was delightful, there were some fun dance scenes, and who wouldn’t love a Louis Armstrong cameo? But otherwise neither version of this story was my cup of tea. “Skin of My Teeth” is the best of the bunch and the only one I’d want to see performed. It’s totally original, often surreal, sometimes hilarious, and overall kind of a hot mess. If I summarized the plot you’d think I’m joking.

  12. 4 out of 5

    jh

    Our Town: 5 stars. I thought it was brilliant, not only for Wilder's right dose of "meta" concern, but also for his mastery of creating a world out of such mundane goings-on, using only dialogues and stage directions. The Skin of Our Teeth: 5 stars. If Our Town was about putting our daily life under the microscope, The Skin of Our Teeth was about taking a step back from it, and entertaining it on a more fundamental level: that, for better or worse, life is a cycle of beginning and end, and that f Our Town: 5 stars. I thought it was brilliant, not only for Wilder's right dose of "meta" concern, but also for his mastery of creating a world out of such mundane goings-on, using only dialogues and stage directions. The Skin of Our Teeth: 5 stars. If Our Town was about putting our daily life under the microscope, The Skin of Our Teeth was about taking a step back from it, and entertaining it on a more fundamental level: that, for better or worse, life is a cycle of beginning and end, and that for it to be meaningful, from our perspective, a desire to make something happen is essential, no matter how insignificant it seems to be. It was a clever piece of work, but can certainly come across as strange. My advice is that, while reading it, enjoy the ride -- or, in the words of Miss Somerset, don't think about it. The Matchmaker: 3 stars. This one pulled down my overall rating a bit. My main issue was that those melodrama appeared to be elicited without a purpose, despite the "moral" at the end. But The Matchmaker was, after all, presented as a farce, so perhaps I was asking too much.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    For book club, we are only discussing one of Wilder's plays - The Skin of Our Teeth, which is the strangest of the bunch. I had seen a high school production of Our Town before and now want to see Hello, Dolly! The plays might not seem as strange when viewed as opposed to read. Without the brief analysis of The Skin of Our Teeth, I would've been utterly baffled. It is an odd play and received a rather warm reception due to its time, WW2. There will be plenty to discuss. From a reading perspective For book club, we are only discussing one of Wilder's plays - The Skin of Our Teeth, which is the strangest of the bunch. I had seen a high school production of Our Town before and now want to see Hello, Dolly! The plays might not seem as strange when viewed as opposed to read. Without the brief analysis of The Skin of Our Teeth, I would've been utterly baffled. It is an odd play and received a rather warm reception due to its time, WW2. There will be plenty to discuss. From a reading perspective, The Matchmaker was easiest and in minute ways reminded me of Oscar Wilde, but probably most for its being a farce. Overall, strange but award-winning.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Darinda

    Three plays by Thornton Wilder. Our Town ★★★★ A play about life in a small town. Told in three acts - daily life, marriage, and death. Simple, beautiful, and tragic. The Skin of Our Teeth ★★★ The story of a family that has been around for thousands of years. They've survived, by the skin of their teeth, multiple end of world scenarios - ice, flood, and war. A unique play that relies on breaking the fourth wall. Absurd and witty. The Matchmaker ★★★ A wealthy merchant hires a matchmaker to find him a wi Three plays by Thornton Wilder. Our Town ★★★★ A play about life in a small town. Told in three acts - daily life, marriage, and death. Simple, beautiful, and tragic. The Skin of Our Teeth ★★★ The story of a family that has been around for thousands of years. They've survived, by the skin of their teeth, multiple end of world scenarios - ice, flood, and war. A unique play that relies on breaking the fourth wall. Absurd and witty. The Matchmaker ★★★ A wealthy merchant hires a matchmaker to find him a wife. A delightful and humorous play.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    Nothing Wilder wrote radiates with the truly magical wonder of "Our Town" though his one-acts "Pullman Car Hiawatha" and "The Long Christmas Dinner" sure come close. Here "The Skin of Our Teeth" intermittently shows a similar grandness in scope and scheme but "The Matchmaker," fun as it may be, just feels like a solid boulevard comedy anyone could've written. Personally, I wish there were a Wilder collection that pulled together all his meta-macro plays including "The Happy Journey to Trenton an Nothing Wilder wrote radiates with the truly magical wonder of "Our Town" though his one-acts "Pullman Car Hiawatha" and "The Long Christmas Dinner" sure come close. Here "The Skin of Our Teeth" intermittently shows a similar grandness in scope and scheme but "The Matchmaker," fun as it may be, just feels like a solid boulevard comedy anyone could've written. Personally, I wish there were a Wilder collection that pulled together all his meta-macro plays including "The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden," too.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alan Alva

    "Spoiler" In the play “our town” , by Thornton Wilder, he highlights living and death. In act one the play begins with the birth of twins. The audience is introduced to main characters in act one and they show us how they grew up. In act two they show us how the two main characters love each other. The audience is introduced with a long lasting relationship. In act 3 one of the main character dies due to natural causes. This shows that life can be taken from you, without you enjoying it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I've always loved Our Town--yup, cried again. My first time for The Skin of Our Teeth--even weirder than Our Town, an interesting premise, and a few eerily current sounding quotes about immigrants and foreigners. I've seen Hello Dolly, but this was my first time reading The Matchmaker. Stick with the musical--it makes more sense.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I actually only read "The Matchmaker" which Goodreads does not list as a separate book. It was fun to read the original story and it's evolution.

  19. 4 out of 5

    R.K. Cowles

    3 3/4 stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anna Fitzgerald

    Just not work that kept my attention.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daisy Leather

    'Our Town' is THE most BEAUTIFUL play that has ever existed. Damn.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara J

    The e-book I read was just The Matchmaker, not all three plays. Wit and wisdom and just plain fun! A great way to finish one decade and start the next—-laughing out loud while reading!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I just can't understand why Our Town is so beloved. I read the play and watched a couple of versions but it seems to me to be a play about nothing with about as much dramatic interest as watching paint dry. The Matchmaker is fun and it's really interesting to see what Jerry Herman Did to it in Hello Dolly. The story is very very similar except that the whole Hello Dolly scene is just made up for the musical to give Dolly her big number. In the play no one knows her or remembers her at the Harmon I just can't understand why Our Town is so beloved. I read the play and watched a couple of versions but it seems to me to be a play about nothing with about as much dramatic interest as watching paint dry. The Matchmaker is fun and it's really interesting to see what Jerry Herman Did to it in Hello Dolly. The story is very very similar except that the whole Hello Dolly scene is just made up for the musical to give Dolly her big number. In the play no one knows her or remembers her at the Harmonia Garden restaurant.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I’ve had this book since sometime around Middle School, and always meant to actually read all three plays. I only read one of them for school, and it’s so long ago now I don’t remember at all what we “learned” from it. It’s been on my shelf for decades, and finally it was time to take a look and see what it was like. Our Town was the play I was assigned to read, I believe, in middle school (probably ninth grade, though I might have read it for school in two separate years). I’m not quite certain I’ve had this book since sometime around Middle School, and always meant to actually read all three plays. I only read one of them for school, and it’s so long ago now I don’t remember at all what we “learned” from it. It’s been on my shelf for decades, and finally it was time to take a look and see what it was like. Our Town was the play I was assigned to read, I believe, in middle school (probably ninth grade, though I might have read it for school in two separate years). I’m not quite certain what my teacher expected me to get out of it, and quite honestly, I’m still not sure what I make of it. I think there’s a hint in the Preface by Wilder, in which he says, “There’s nothing wrong with the middle classes in themselves” but that when they are arising, they represent a great danger to the arts. He emphasizes the shallowness and defensiveness of the new middle class, and its desire for theater to be “soothing.” I think this play was a satire on that vapid, banal world, at times a biting critique on the American middle-class’s sentimentality, provincialism, and ignorance. It is simultaneously an attempt to make something deeper, and not at all soothing, but with a veneer of the ordinary, to put audiences off balance, to make them think that they were on familiar ground. The Skin of Our Teeth was easier for me to read and understand, and I would have gotten more out of it as a kid, too. If nothing else, the humor was much more obvious. Apparently, one of the older classes did it as a class play at my school, but I missed it. This was a more explicitly experimental play, and I am tempted to call it “expressionist” although I’m not certain that art historians would agree. Characters break the fourth wall and speak in the role of actors and production workers, and the play is deliberately ambiguous about its time and setting, using a middle-class family to stand in for archetypal and eternal roles, and also to suggest both biblical themes and very modern ones. The funny thing is that, with all this, it seems to me that the play is extremely grounded in its moment (1942), particularly the third act, which is essentially all about World War II. The final play is The Matchmaker, originally released as “The Merchant of Yonkers,” and it was the big disappointment of this volume. It’s a completely unambiguous ordinary romantic comedy, which un-self-consciously celebrates all the middle class values the other two appeared to criticize – making me wonder if I was reading rather too much into them. It does bear a bit of resemblance to “The Merchant of Venice,” or at least to the romantic subplots thereof (no pound of flesh in this version), even to the point of having an apparent caricature of a Jewish clerk, named Malachi, that wouldn’t fly today. I would have preferred the screenplay to any Frank Capra film, which would have contained the same message, and probably a little more social commentary. In all, I guess I have a bit more of a sense of Thornton Wilder from having read this, but unless he put out more plays along the lines of “The Skin of Our Teeth,” I probably won’t look for more by him.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Bracciante

    I read The Skin of Our Teeth first prior to seeing it performed at The Theatre For A New Audience's production at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn. I did so in order to familiarize myself with what I would be seeing performed. I have never read Thornton Wilder before and this is a strange play as each of it's three acts appears to be set in different time periods that manage to weave the ice age, Noah's Ark, Cain & Abel, etc. into modern times. Like most plays it can be read quickly b I read The Skin of Our Teeth first prior to seeing it performed at The Theatre For A New Audience's production at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn. I did so in order to familiarize myself with what I would be seeing performed. I have never read Thornton Wilder before and this is a strange play as each of it's three acts appears to be set in different time periods that manage to weave the ice age, Noah's Ark, Cain & Abel, etc. into modern times. Like most plays it can be read quickly but I find seeing a play acted is the only way to truly bring it to life. Having seen it I would give it 4 stars. I have since read both Our Town and The matchmaker. I was disappointed by Our Town and would only give it 3 stars but really liked The Matchmaker which I would enjoy seeing performed live some day. I could visualize it as Shakespeare meeting the Marx Brothers. It deserves 5 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris Gager

    I already have this book down as "read" long ago. I really don't know if I read it or not but I did at least read "Our Town" before... back in prep school I'm sure. That was a LONG time ago. "The Matchmaker" too I think. Anyway... "Our Town" - Read this last night. Still a very moving emotional and spiritual experience. I ought to go see the play some time! The message? Be mindful, awake, aware and present in each moment today in all things and for all people! A very Buddhist message. Moving on to I already have this book down as "read" long ago. I really don't know if I read it or not but I did at least read "Our Town" before... back in prep school I'm sure. That was a LONG time ago. "The Matchmaker" too I think. Anyway... "Our Town" - Read this last night. Still a very moving emotional and spiritual experience. I ought to go see the play some time! The message? Be mindful, awake, aware and present in each moment today in all things and for all people! A very Buddhist message. Moving on to "The Skin of Our Teeth". I assume this is in the category of absurdist theater? Pretty funny so far. Now done with "Skin..." and in the middle of a more conventionally amusing farce - "The Matchmaker". Lot's of quotable stuff in "Skin". Act 3 was much more serious than the first two. After repeated failure the "people" are getting discouraged and crazy(George). Both "Skin" and :Our Town" won Pulitzer Prizes. "The Matchmaker" - OK so far... originally derived from "The Merchant of Yonkers"(from the 30's) and the source of "Hello Dolly" of course. That was a HUGE Broadway hit back in the day and Louis Armstrong's single of the title song was a big hit as well. Hard to imagine the very weird Carol Channing in the role of Dolly Levi, though. Barbra Streisand was too young for the movie role but had the star power to get the part. Will finish this tonight and get on with the next Harry Potter(#5)... Finished last night. "Matchmaker" was OK but not as interesting as the first two. All three are a bit dated. "Our Town"'s the best. Notes... - Matchmaker is suggestive of "The Christmas Carol". - I can imagine Robert Morse as Barnaby/Ermengarde! - TW lays it on pretty thick against Vandergelder(arrogant, dictatorial, rich man, boss man/capitalist/money-lover and then the guy changes in 5 minutes! - 3.75* rounds up to 4*...

  27. 5 out of 5

    A

    My score on this is averaged from all three plays within the collection: "Our Town" ***** I came in with certain expectations, since my only prior exposure came via the many allusions to Wilder's most famous play. The glimmer of nostalgic Americana is there, ironically undercut by where the story ends up. As theatre, I appreciate the sparseness of the set suggested in Wilder's directions (quite avant-garde for American theatre of the period) and the magic realism of the third act. Wilder's dialogu My score on this is averaged from all three plays within the collection: "Our Town" ***** I came in with certain expectations, since my only prior exposure came via the many allusions to Wilder's most famous play. The glimmer of nostalgic Americana is there, ironically undercut by where the story ends up. As theatre, I appreciate the sparseness of the set suggested in Wilder's directions (quite avant-garde for American theatre of the period) and the magic realism of the third act. Wilder's dialogue is dense, somewhat stylized, yet believable. Very much the sort of drama I'm drawn to--less concerned with what Wilder calls verisimilitude than poetic truth, creating its own reality in order to open the door onto this reality. To make us see anew. "The Skin of Our Teeth" **** Less emotionally engaging, but quite clever and droll. Unlike "Our Town," it does not initially ask our investment in the characters. From the get-go, it draws attention to its construction and, by the end of each scene, has clearly stated the main theme. Personally, I prefer the tact chosen in "Our Town" and was generally just more moved by that text. But I still enjoyed "The Skin of Our Teeth" and would certainly recommend it to those who are fond of meta-fiction. "The Matchmaker" *** My least favorite of the plays in this collection, lacking much of the depth and spark of the previous two. It's entertaining enough, hits all its marks, but overall is merely OK. As with the previous two, Wilder's dialogue is dense and often fun to read. The characters are amusingly caricature-ish, with Dolly being particularly memorable. A good introduction/overview of a playwright I was previously (sadly!) unfamiliar with and am now quite fond of.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    Our Town surprised me. I went into it, thinking that it was going to be a cliche warbling about Americana lost; I've heard rumors about the play that have not been kind. But the sadness and longing in Act III is touching and brings much needed depth to the previous scenes. I'm intrigued by Skin of Our Teeth, but I feel like there's too much going on. Is it modern, is it classic, is it archaic? Is breaking the fourth wall necessary or just a trick of the trade? I like the writing, but staging this Our Town surprised me. I went into it, thinking that it was going to be a cliche warbling about Americana lost; I've heard rumors about the play that have not been kind. But the sadness and longing in Act III is touching and brings much needed depth to the previous scenes. I'm intrigued by Skin of Our Teeth, but I feel like there's too much going on. Is it modern, is it classic, is it archaic? Is breaking the fourth wall necessary or just a trick of the trade? I like the writing, but staging this show must be hell. The Matchmaker is the best in the collection. Fast-paced with a cheeky wit makes it a very entertaining wit. The characters are over the top while still remaining a sense of charm. Normally, four act plays spell doom for me, but it flies by so quickly you hardly notice.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Woodland

    This is one of those books that you can't escape if you take any kind of course involving 20th century theatre. No problem, though, these are three great & classic plays. Better yet, they're still so popular that you stand a good chance of being able to see a production. "Our Town" is the most frequently performed, but unfortunately, a lot of the complexities evade all but the most professional productions. LOL, go see it anyway. "Skin of Our Teeth", another great play. "The Matchmaker" is a ver This is one of those books that you can't escape if you take any kind of course involving 20th century theatre. No problem, though, these are three great & classic plays. Better yet, they're still so popular that you stand a good chance of being able to see a production. "Our Town" is the most frequently performed, but unfortunately, a lot of the complexities evade all but the most professional productions. LOL, go see it anyway. "Skin of Our Teeth", another great play. "The Matchmaker" is a very funny play with a story you may recognize from elsewhere: it's the basis for "Hello Dolly!" They make for good reading.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Each of these three plays by Thornton Wilder is humorous, poignant, and - most importantly of all, I believe - deeply perceptive, whilst retaining a simple, fast-paced narrative style and dealing a sharp slap to the concept of the fourth wall. I only wish that I could see them performed on stage. My personal favourite is Our Town, which begins as a gentle satire on life in a quintessential small American town at the turn of century and develops into a rather philosophical commentary on our abili Each of these three plays by Thornton Wilder is humorous, poignant, and - most importantly of all, I believe - deeply perceptive, whilst retaining a simple, fast-paced narrative style and dealing a sharp slap to the concept of the fourth wall. I only wish that I could see them performed on stage. My personal favourite is Our Town, which begins as a gentle satire on life in a quintessential small American town at the turn of century and develops into a rather philosophical commentary on our ability to appreciate life. A pleasure to read.

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