I taught high school English in Arizona for a few years. Our Town was one of my favorite plays to teach. Late one night, I caught the PBS, “Great Performances” presentation featuring Spalding Gray as the stage manager. Phenomenal.

“Spalding had an affinity with that material and its enormous sadness and wistfulness about lost opportunities and the mysteries of the universe,” said Gregory Mosher, who directed the “Our Town” revival. “That probably was Spalding’s main subject, wasn’t it? Writing and thinking about the mysteries of life and death.”

Today Spalding Gray has been confirmed dead.

Gray was, I think, one of the “poets and artists” Thornton Wilder noted in Our Town as really glimpsing the world in it’s wonder and sadness. These Wilder quotes too are apropos:

“When God loves a creature he wants the creature to know the highest happiness and the deepest misery … He wants him to know all that being alive can bring. That is his best gift…. There is no happiness save in understanding the whole.

and

“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning. “Thornton Wilder (1897–1975)

God bless his soul, Spalding Gray, (1941-2004)

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