OU Theatre presents modern reimagining of “The Grapes of Wrath”

Oglethorpe University Theatre has announced its upcoming student production for the spring semester, which presents a modern twist on an iconic American tale: “The Grapes of Wrath” set in 2024.

A graphic that reads: "Oglethorpe University Theatre program presents John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath' by Frank GalatiA tale of family, hope and perseverance, “The Grapes of Wrath” tells the tale of the Joads, a family of farmers, after the life-altering loss of their livelihood. The family packs what is left of their possessions and travels west to California in search of a new home and new opportunities.

Originally set in the Great Depression, the story follows the Joads as they struggle against unemployment, poverty and unjust labor laws and battle their way out of the drought-stricken Dust Bowl.

Many of the struggles of that original story are echoed in OU Theatre’s modern adaptation.

“I want our production to be about young people fighting for a better future,” says Associate Professor of Theatre Matt Huff. “Even though that was not Steinbeck’s original intent, I think the text can support this directorial approach. That is the creative power of theatre — we can reimagine stories to reflect our time period without changing the written text.”

The upcoming production has been a homecoming for two Oglethorpe alumni, as well. Maital Gottfried ’17 and Karl Dickey ’17 have been recruited as dramaturg and scenic designer, respectively.

A theatre graduate with experience in scenic design, Dickey has worked professionally as a scenic carpenter, artist and stagehand. He served as technical director at Georgia Ensemble Theatre until 2020 and currently supervises the scene shop at Georgia State University’s Clarkston campus. He is also enrolled in a graduate program at the University of South Carolina.

“Returning to OU as an alumni has been welcoming and helpful at several different stages of my career. The invitation by Matt Huff to work on ‘Grapes of Wrath’ has been an exciting journey all on its own.”

Also a theatre graduate, Gottfried has since earned a master’s in playwriting and dramaturgy from the University of Glasgow.

“Attending OU was an incredibly formative experience for me both as a theatre professional, and as a person in general, so I’ve been really proud to return as an alumnus,” says Gottfried. “It’s been such a pleasure to work with the department that taught me so much when I was a student, and it truly does feel like a full-circle experience to be able to work with the current Theatre students.”

“The Grapes of Wrath” will run at Oglethorpe’s Conant Performing Arts Center April 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27. General admission is $20 for the public and free for Oglethorpe students, faculty and staff with a Petrel Pass. For tickets, visit Eventbrite or call the Conant Box Office at 404-504-1074.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email