Event/Activity: Attend the Center Stage Theatre and American Theatre Festival’s performance of The Grapes of Wrath
Gen. Ed. Category event should be listed under: Social Sciences
SCC competencies addressed by event:
Guidelines for accomplishment of event:
1) Before attending the performance, visit one or both of the following sites concerning The American Theatre Festival. There, you will find the performance dates, the location of the performance and information about the play.
2) Before attending the performance, read the following information about the historical context of the play:
John Steinbeck was one of the nation’s most prolific writers from the twenties through the early sixties. His work on the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath is recognized as one of the great novels of American literature. When published in 1938, the book opened an instant national debate. Some Americans were so critical that the book was banned in some parts of the nation. In others, it was heralded as a literary triumph, The Great American Novel, that opened for all to read the unjust poverty in a nation of such wealth. The book won a Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Award. In 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In 1940, Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox released the film version with Henry Fonda as Tom Joad and Jane Darwell as Ma, with John Carradine as Casy. The film was directed by the legendary John Ford who won the Oscar for Best Director for the work. In 1990, Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Shubert Organization produced the stage version adapted by Frank Galati.
THE SETTING: It is 1938 and the nation has been struggling through the worst depression in its history. Democracies all over the world are in economic stress and dictatorships such as Hitler, Mussolini and the Soviets Stalin seem to be on the rise. In the United States, devastating drought and infestations of grasshoppers and locust have cut a wide path through the Great Plains. Hundreds of thousands of small farmers went bankrupt and even lost their homes and were forced to leave the only land they had known. Thousands left and traveled west to California in the hopes of finding work and salvation. The Joad family symbolized what was had and was still happening to hundreds of thousands of Americans.
3) Attend the performance.
4) Write a 4-page, double-spaced response to the play, works cited included. Please do the following in your response:
A. Briefly summarize the plot, characters and setting of the play, in one paragraph.
B. Pick 2-3 of the following questions, and spend the rest of your paper answering them.
SCC Event Creator: Heather Rodgers