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Feb. 21, 2001
OSWEGO -- Gertrude Cirks, 88, has made over 200 quilts in her lifetime. The quilts have been given to children, grandchildren and charities, but none have ever starred in a theatre production -- until now.
One of her quilts will make its debut March 2 at the opening of "The Grapes of Wrath" in Waterman Theatre at SUNY Oswego. Cirks is the grandmother-in-law of the play's director, Thomas Rhett Kee, and she crafted the quilt especially for the play.
"I asked Gertrude if she would be willing to sew a quilt for the play," Kee says, "She eagerly took to the task and finished in record time."
Kee shared his vision of the quilt with Cirks during a Christmas visit to North Dakota, where she lives. "I designed the quilt with Gertrude, and my brother-in-law John covered the technical engineering," he says.
The quilt arrived on campus last week, just in time for the show.
"The idea is that it could have been made of Betsy Ross' original flag, but with drab and almost dirty colors representing the Depression," Cirks says.
The story 's author, John Steinbeck, refers to the "dirty 30s " in his famous novel.
Music direction for "The Grapes of Wrath" will fall to folk country composer-guitarist Jason Eklund. The visiting artist will hold an informance at Timepieces in Hewitt Union at 3 p.m. March 2.
The informance is hosted by Artswego and is designed for students to gain insight into the life of a traveling, professional artist and to hear more of Eklund's music, which has been described by Pete Seger's Sing Out magazine as "a high-powered set of original songs that draw on such musical forms as bluegrass, blues and Jimmy Rodgers-style yodels."
"The Grapes of Wrath" will preview at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1, when tickets will be $4. The show will open at 8 p.m. Friday, March 2. "The Grapes of Wrath" will continue at 8 p.m. March 3, 9 and 10 and at 2 p.m. March 11.
General admission is $8. For more information, call the Tyler Hall box office at 312-2141.
Persons with disabilities, needing accommodations to attend this event, should contact the Tyler Hall box office manager at 312-3097.
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CONTACT: Kelly Cullinan, Tyler Hall box office manager, 312-3097

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