The Grapes of Wrath: Live Performance Ties Classic Literature to Current Issues | Events

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The Grapes of Wrath: Live Performance Ties Classic Literature to Current Issues
The Grapes of Wrath: Live Performance Ties Classic Literature to Current Issues

Lively Town Hall-style discussion to follow the reprise Caitlin Shetterly’s adaptation of American classic

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning classic novel, is one of the most challenged and banned books in the U.S.. In it, Steinbeck depicts in spare, beautiful, and chillingly realistic prose, the economic, social, and environmental tragedy that has become known as the American Dust Bowl. On Wednesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. Opera House Arts (OHA) is proud to present a reprise of its successful 2014 live performance of The Grapes of Wrath, alongside a Town Hall-style discussion on the issues of poverty and hunger in the U.S. The presentation is a continuation of OHA’s The Living Room Project series. The show, discussion, and related activities will also be part of a special day-long symposium for high school students at the Opera House on March 24.

The Living Room Project presentations such as The Grapes of Wrath give us opportunities to explore great American literature together, while raising meaningful dialogue around community issues that are often difficult to discuss,” said Producing Artistic Director Linda Nelson. “It’s a short, powerful evening of live performance and conversation that can bring us together from our many community roles, and we hope many will attend.”

This original Opera House Arts’ adaptation of one of the novel’s intercalary chapters, Chapter 7, “The Used Car Salesman,” is conceived and directed by Portland-based author and theater artist CAITLIN SHETTERLY and will be performed by Sedgwick actor BOB BURKE. Town Hall panelists, who will be asked to respond to the performance, will include local and area representatives from food banks and other social service providers, as well as town officials and those who have personally experienced some of the issues presented.

The goal of the evening, and of OHA’s growing humanities series, The Living Room Project, is to use the emotionally transformative and immediate power of performance to create meaningful community dialogue around poverty, one of the most divisive, complex ethical and moral issues of our time, and other challenging socio-cultural issues.

This performance is a reprise of last year’s inaugural production of OHA’s The Living Room Project. The series has expanded to include a symposium on Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea this past January, and will include Maine author Ruth Moore’s A Walk Down Maine Street and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried starting next fall.

CAITLIN SHETTERLY is the author of Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home (Hyperion, 2011), and a freelance reporter, writer and contributing producer to National Public Radio where she reports on arts and culture, food, and lifestyle. A former actor, Shetterly grew up on the Blue Hill Peninsula and is the founder and artistic director of The Winter Harbor Theatre Company in Portland.

ROBERT BURKE has appeared many times on the Opera House stage as well as on stages around the country for nearly 40 years. Burke has appeared on Broadway, Off Broadway, and in movies and on TV. He has been a leading actor with The San Diego Shakespeare Festival, New York Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage Company, Theater Company of Boston, Indiana Rep, Playmakers Rep, The Ahmanson Theater, and Provincetown Playhouse on the Wharf.

Advance tickets are available online at Tickets are also available at the door on a sliding scale, with $10 being the recommended fee, more if you can, less if you can, to be sure all interested can attend. 

Opera House Arts, a nonprofit organization launched to restore the 1912 Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, to its central role at the heart of Stonington’s Main Street and island communities, is celebrating its 16th season in 2015. For a full schedule of year round programs and the upcoming summer season, please go to