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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI/Theatre opens 2004-2005 season with The Grapes of Wrath

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KINGSTON, R.I -- September 10, 2004 -- URI /Theatre, in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island’s semester-long URI Honors Colloquium, “Food and Human Rights: Hunger and Social Policy,” will present The Grapes of Wrath, Frank Galati’s Tony award-winning play based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel.

The play will be performed in the Robert E. Will Theatre, Fine Arts Center Oct. 14 through 16 and Oct. 20 through 23, at 8 p.m. and October 17 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $10 for students, seniors and children.

In conjunction with the colloquium, URI /Theatre will offer a panel discussion on The Grapes of Wrath, entitled, “Hunger in America 1938-2004,” on Sunday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Robert E. Will Theatre, immediately following a performance of the play. The discussion is free and open to the public.

The Grapes of Wrath is a classic story that takes place during the Great Depression when thousands of homeless American migrant workers experienced extreme hardships. The play follows the decent and desperately poor Joad family on its journey from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma to “the promised land” of California.

The indomitable Ma Joad is determined to survive this calamity with her family as it starts the journey together across Route 66 with meager belongings in one of many rickety vehicles criss-crossing the American landscape in the 1930s.

The family encounters formidable obstacles: greed, exploitation, violence, prejudice, with tenacity and humor. The Joads manage to endure what happened to so many people during this terrible economic time in American history, a time of the haves and the hungry have-nots.

“That they endure, loving and caring for and about one another and for their American brothers and sisters whom they encounter on the road, is the miracle that Steinbeck created and Galati adapted for the stage. It is an inspired and inspiring story, “says Bryna Wortman, URI assistant professor of theatre and the play’s director.

The play’s set is designed by Christian Witwer, URI associate professor of theatre; costumes are designed by Marilyn Salvatore, lighting is designed by Ray Klunk, and the sound designed by Peter Nabut.

Featured panelists for the Oct. 17 discussion include URI professors Kathleen Gorman, developmental psychology, director, Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America and co-coordinator of the colloquium; Richard McIntyre, Economics Department, and Maureen Moakley, chair, Political Science Department. Wortman will moderate the discussion.

For reservations and information, please call 401-874-5843.