This post is brought to you in partnership with Theatre Charlotte. All opinions are our own.
Picture it: Widespread poverty is ravaging a family as they escape a natural disaster in Oklahoma to the promise of a new life in California. Along the way, their route is blighted by poverty, death, desertion, violence and natural disasters.
No, this isn’t a current news story. It’s Theatre Charlotte’s production of The Grapes of Wrath, playing today through Nov. 12, this adaptation of John Steinbeck’s 1939 novel of the same name is set in The Great Depression, the Joad Family experiences many of the hardships that are still themes in our lives today: battering against a system that often binds us, a lack of resources and even natural disasters, especially this year.
To prove this point, we asked the cast members why they wanted to be a part of this production and how the show is relevant today – and what we can learn from it.
Ron Law, Director: “We believe the play doesn’t need technical wizardry to tell the story of the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s, of an America divided between the haves and have-nots, of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s reaction to injustice and one woman’s incredible strength. In this simple staging, we hope to capture the horrors of the Great Depression and to truthfully present Steinbeck’s masterpiece about the nature of equality and justice in America.”
Cole Pedigo (plays Connie Rivers): “The timelessness of this story has become so apparent in recent years. Ordinary everyday people forced to uproot their lives and travel a far distance in order to survive only to find out they are not welcome is not a distant concept. It’s happening right now in countries that the United States has banned immigrants from. This is an important story, and I feel proud to tell it.”
Melody McClellan (Mrs. Knowles and ensemble): “It tells a story about part of our history as a country that, unfortunately, is still relevant. It’s important to learn from the past, and this is an excellent, artistic reminder of some of the darker parts our history.”
Ryan Dunn (Pa Joad): “This story is very relevant to current times, especially regarding economic inequality and the potential for corrupt behavior from authority figures.”
Niyahnee Thomas (Ensemble): All characters throughout this show suffer and struggle through the hard times…What is happening in the news and with the country and amongst the world leaders seems to relate to many of the concepts in the show, simply on a larger scale. I think it is important for people to watch and take in how the people interact with each other (the Joads with other campers, and Californians with the Joads and other characters). It can teach us a lot about how we should carry ourselves in times of struggle, and how to support those who are going through a rough time, even if it is something we cannot personally relate to ourselves.”
This show will not only leave you entertained, but you’ll also get a deep insight into issues still plaguing our country. Plus, when you come to the show on Friday, November 10, stay afterwards for a Bar Back event. The cast and production team will be in the lobby after the show for a casual post-show chat. Grab a beer provided by Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and sit down with some cast members to ask them all your burning questions.
More information: It’s Theatre Charlotte presents The Grapes of Wrath, Oct. 27 – Nov. 12, 2017. 501 Queens Road. Recommended for ages 16 and up. Learn more about the show, including showtimes, here. Tickets are $28 and available here.
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