Thornton (You don't meet a lot of Thorntons these days--some names are fading out of use--I think that's a shame) Wilder's Our Town is one of my favorite plays. I have read it many times, most recently reading it aloud with my family. Chris recently posted on her Top Fave Summer Reads; Our Town would be on that list for me.
The simplicity of the play as it examines small-town life, particularly the lives of the Webb and Gibbs families, just has a staggering impact on me every time I read it. My family had to sit around and wait patiently for me to collect myself and blink back tears as I read the play to everyone (Cue the eye-rolling for my children, who would argue that I do that for almost everything we read at least once).
What struck me this time was how strongly I reacted to what was happening in the parents' lives throughout the play. When I was younger and read the part of Emily for a class play, I identified most with young Emily's role. Her certainty about life, her views of life in black and white, I could relate to all of that.
Reading it later as a wife, I sympathized greatly with George and how his life turned out. While I still feel for him, this time I was really touched by what was happening in the parent's lives throughout the play. As a parent, my heart just ached for Mr. and Mrs. Webb.
To Kill a Mockingbird is the only other work that I can say has touched me in the same way. You get one perspective when you read/watch it as a child, another as an adult, and yet another, more intense one, as a parent. I could relate to Scout and Jem as children, I admired Atticus' integrity and strength as an adult, but I felt his palpable fear and his abiding love for his children most keenly as a parent.
Works such as these are rare indeed--I treasure them.