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On the trail of Grover’s Corners

English director’s passion for the play ‘Our Town’ brings him to town

By Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
(Published in print: Thursday, January 2, 2014)

	 Peterborough On the trail of Grover’s Corners English director’s passion for the play ‘Our Town’ brings him to town      Director Paul Caister and his daughter Anya Caister have made the trip from England to visit Peterborough, the play "Our Town," his favorite work, was based on.      Director Paul Caister and his daughter Anya Caister have made the trip from England to visit Peterborough, the play "Our Town," his favorite work, was based on.In 1990, Director Paul Caister was looking for a play with a large cast for his drama school, The Poor School and Workhouse Theatre in King’s Cross, London, England. A friend handed him “Our Town.” Caister started to read it, and didn’t warm to the play immediately. But by the time he got to Act II, where George and Emily are preparing for their wedding day, Caister began to realize that there might be something special about this play by Thornton Wilder.

Over the course of his career, Caister has directed “Our Town” three times, and it’s become his favorite play. The story is a fairly simple one, telling about the lives of a small New Hampshire town over the course of 13 years, from 1901 to 1914. The play focuses on Emily Webb and George Gibbs throughout the second and third acts. The first act introduces the town. The second shows the marriage of Emily and George. In the third, Emily has died in childbirth and returns as a ghost to ruminate on her life.

“It gets better the more I know it, which is a good measure of a great work,” said Caister in an interview Saturday in Peterborough. “And there are very few plays that get better the more you know them. It’s a deceptively lyrical piece.”

Sometime in the mid-90s, after Caister had directed the play for the first time, he made a quiet resolution: One day, he would visit “Our Town.” Or at least the town that the fictional Grover’s Corners was based on, a small town in New Hampshire, called Peterborough. It wasn’t until 20 years later, though, that he finally realized his dream. On Friday, along with his daughter, Anya Caister, 22, he arrived in Peterborough, and set out to explore the town’s atmosphere and visit some of the sites the famous scenes in his favorite play were based on. [read the complete article on the Ledger-Transcript web site]