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TELEVISION REVIEW

PBS's classic 'Our Town' brings culture to Grovah's Connahs

We take life slow here in Grovah's Connahs. The wood's all stockpiled, the storm windows are in place. Winter's a-comin', I reckon. You can fill the chill.

Sundays after chuhch, we watch the Patriots and then have dinner before settlin' down before the television. The missus and I, we still like that Mastapiece Thee-yay-ta on Channel 2. They got that funny way of talkin', that's for sure, but sometimes they sneak in some American folks, too. Not that one country's betta than anotha, know what I mean?

Tomorrow night, they have "Our Town" by Mr. Thawnton Wilda. Our son, Jawge, he works over at Channel 2, and he sent us a tape of the show, so now I'm gonna wahk you through it.

Fuhst thing you see, and I thought the missus was havin' a conniption when we turned it on, there's none other than Mr. Paul Newman playin' the narrata. Can ya believe it? Paul Newman on our very own Mastapiece Thee-yay-ta.

Maybe he can't bound up the stairs without his heart flutterin' a bit, and maybe those eyes aren't so blue no more, but wait till ya see him. His hands saw the air like he's spinnin' gold. That voice sounds like the angel of death and the wisdom of the Lord all rolled into one. He's not the young whippasnappa we all wanted to be when we were young, but that smile reminds us of the joys of livin', and his melancholy reminds us of our own mortality. You can add this performance to that highlight reel. Course this isn't the fuhst time he's been the narrata. That wife of his, Miss Joanne Woodward, she took over the Westport Country Playhouse, and so he did the role there with his pal James Naughton directin', and then they went to New Yawk with it. Now here they all are on the television.

There isn't much in the way of culture here in Grovah's Connahs. The missus and I, we try the HBO every once in a while on Sunday nights, and it jus gets wuhse and wuhse. One week it's those girls takin' off their clothes on "Sex and the City." Guess that don't do no harm. Then it's them gay fellas on "Six Feet Unda." Guess that don't do no harm, either.

But one night when Mastapiece Thee-yay-ta wasn't on we put on this show called "Oz" thinkin' we was gonna see Toto and Dorothy and instead. . . . Goodness, that ain't no way to behave.

So the missus and I we were really happy with "Our Town." It might not a had much in the way a scenery, but it sure did capture what it's like to see a real classic play, what with them techniques where it looks like an empty stage and then all of a sudden you're in the chuhch or the graveyahd. And that scene where Emily comes back ta life, I always cry. I don't know why, I jus do.

That Wilda fella, you know a lotta people dismiss him as a Nohman Rohckwell type, and listenin' to some a these folks talk -- "There's a lotta common sense in superstition, Jawge" -- you jus wanna make fun a them.

But I've jus' gotta tell the truth and shame the Devil. I think there's somethin' eternal in his writin', with his laments about war and his lookin' for life to add up to somethin'. I guess we're all lookin' for a way for life to add up to somethin', but that ain't easy.

So you save tomorrow night for Mr. Newman and Mr. Wilda and their friends. People are walkin' around in a cloud a ignorance these days, they sure are, cuz things are goin' so fast.

Things don't change much around Grovahs Connahs. We all know that some things are eternal. That eternal somethin' has to do with relatin' to other human beings. And this is one a them cases where watchin' TV reminds you a that.

Ed Siegel can be reached at siegel@globe.com.

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