Thornton Wilder



  • (1897 - 1975) The US 'anti-naturalist' playwright and novelist,who won Pulitzer Prizes for his expressionist dramas, Our Town(1938), about small-town America, and The Skin of Our Teeth(1942), about humanity's ability to survive the disasters of history.

    Wilder's early plays include the Civil-War drama The TrumpetShall Sound (1927). He established his reputation with three one-actplays performed in 1931: Pullman Car Hiawatha, The HappyJourney to Trenton and Camden, a look at rural US life performedon an empty stage, and The Long Christmas Dinner, later adaptedby the author as the libretto for Hindemith's 1961 opera.

    Influenced by Strindberg, whom he called the "fountainheadof virtually all modernism in the drama", Wilder adopted a rangeof anti-naturalistic devices in his plays. His characters sometimesaddress the audience directly, as in Our Town and The Matchmaker(1954). In 1955 Tyrone Guthrie commissioned him to adapt Euripides'sAlcestis as A Life in the Sun for the Edinburgh Festival.Wilder's Three Plays for Bleeker Street, a triple-bill of one-actdramas, was produced at New York's circle-in-the-Square in 1962.