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BACKGROUND TO THE PLAY
Our Town, which came to be heralded as a Poetic Chronicle of Life and Death, was Wilder's first major play and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize for literature. The first performance of the play took place at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey, on January 22, 1938; it then moved on to play in Boston and New York, where it met with tremendous success. Audiences felt that there was something very human and universal about Grover's Corners; everyone could identify with someone in this small town.
Wilder's passionate plea in the play is to appreciate every moment of every day, for life is a fleeting thing. With troubles rapidly expanding in Europe and war becoming a looming reality, people were inundated with the negative aspects of life. To see Our Town was to escape from the negative and rejoice in the ordinary; it reaffirmed faith in the unchanging moral values of small town living. It was obviously the balm that audiences needed in the midst of a pessimistic and changing world.