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Wild about Wilder

  • David Greenspan, Melissa Barton – who is the Curator of Prose & Drama, Yale Collection of American Literature at The Beinecke Rare Book Library – and Amanda Woods – who is with The Wilder Family LLC Special Projects -- perform in a reading of Wilder’s one-act play “The Long Christmas Dinner” during the Third International Thornton Wilder Conference at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough last week.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Playwright, actor and director David Greenspan, independent scholar Shoshana Greenberg, Amanda Woods – with The Wilder Family LLC Special Projects – and Thornton Wilder’s nephew Tappan Wilder perform in a reading of Wilder’s one-act play “The Long Christmas Dinner” during the Third International Thornton Wilder Conference at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough last week.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • Amanda Woods, with the The Wilder Family LLC Special Projects, Thornton Wilder’s nephew Tappan Wilder and independent scholar Shoshana Greenberg perform in a reading of Wilder’s one-act play “The Long Christmas Dinner” during the Third International Thornton Wilder Conference at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough last week.  Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Tappan Wilder, nephew to Thornton Wilder, and Gus Kaikkonen, artistic director at The Peterborough Players, perform in a reading of Wilder’s one-act play “The Long Christmas Dinner” during the Third International Thornton Wilder Conference at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough last week. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • The Third International Thornton Wilder Conference at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough last week. Courtesy Photo by Kath Allen—

  • Independent scholar Shoshana Greenberg shows off her “Flat Thornton,” which is her take on the children’s book character “Flat Stanley,” at the Third International Thornton Wilder Conference held at The Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough last week.  Courtesy Photo by Kath Allen—

  • Tappan Wilder, the nephew of Thornton Wilder, attends a “talk-back” with the Peterborough Players cast of Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth” as part of the Third International Thornton Wilder Conference held in Peterborough last week.  Courtesy Photo by Will Howell

  • As part of the Third International Thornton Wilder Conference held in Peterborough last week, the niece and nephew of Wilder – Katharine Wilder Guiles and Tappan Wilder – meet the Peterborough Players cast of Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth.”  Courtesy Photo by Will Howell



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, July 20, 2018 4:34PM

The Third International Thornton Wilder Conference that took place last week at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough was a big success in terms of attendance, sightseeing and academic papers presented.

“I think the overwhelming consensus was that it was the most successful conference that we’ve ever had,” said Amanda Woods, The Wilder Family LLC Special Projects. “I think everyone felt at home, welcome and very comfortable in Peterborough. And we had all these incredible opportunities because we were there.”

The conference drew 75 full-attendees, mostly members of the academic community, with an additional 97 people showing up for events open to the community. 

“Considering this is the first time that we opened it up to the public in anyway, we’re 100 percent better,” Woods said.

Being in Peterborough allowed conference attendees to visit the MacDowell Colony studio were Wilder wrote, The Peterborough Players where Wilder consulted on the Players’ first production of “Our Town” and to see the sites of Peterborough through Wilder’s eyes, including a cemetery Wilder likely drew inspiration from when writing “Our Town.”

“We were able to go and see the studio that he worked in and see the tombstones,” Woods said.

And while some debate whether or not Wilder’s best known work “Our Town” was based on Peterborough, Woods said to her it seems to be true.

“It would seem that he based ‘Our Town’ on his experience in Peterborough. Some people say that he didn’t, but I would like to think that he did. Everything kind of fell into place,” during her visit, Woods said.

Woods said the conference was also successful academically, saying what took place at the conference on an intellectual level was amazing.

To top  it off the conference attended a night at the Peterborough Players to see a production of Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth.”

“That evening was terrific. It was an excellent performance of ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’ and this is an audience that has seen hundreds of productions (of Wilder plays) and they were very impressed with the performance at the Players,” Woods said. “I really don’t know if we’re ever going to top this location for the next conference.”