Office of Public Affairs
(315) 341-2265
Jan. 31, 2001
OSWEGO -- SUNY Oswego theatre department will launch its spring performance schedule with the epic story "The Grapes of Wrath," under the direction of Professor Thomas Kee, March 1 to 11 in Tyler Hall's Waterman Theatre.
The play depicts the harsh reality of life during the Great Depression and Dustbowl in the 1930s. It follows the Joad family on their journey from Oklahoma to California.
In preparing for the show, Kee interviewed members of the community who grew up in the Depression and incorporated their experiences.
"I met with residents of the Oswego Ladies Home, St. Luke's and a gentleman from Fulton, Harry Collins. These remarkable individuals grew up during the Depression. Their experiences were amazing," Kee says. "It's my desire to have the students absorb these stories of hardship and to translate these feelings, struggles, dreams into their performances."
Kee recorded the interviews and plans to play the stories as voice-overs during the performance. Kee says he views this production as a way to reconnect the generations and to champion the lives of those who endured the Depression.
Eleven musical pieces will be performed during the show, including original folk songs composed by visiting artist Jason Eklund, who is musical director for the production.
The folk country composer and guitarist comes to Oswego having traveled and toured in the United States, Italy, Switzerland, Holland and England.
Eklund's compositions have 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."
Eklund is composing and performing all of the incidental music for "The Grapes of Wrath." He will also bring to the performance an original tune taken from his research into the American folk music scene.
Eklund will hold an "informance," informational performance, at 3 p.m. March 2 at Timepieces in Hewitt Union. The informance is designed for students to gain insight into the life of a traveling, professional artist and to hear more of Eklund's music.
"The Grapes of Wrath" will preview at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 1. It will open at 8 p.m. Friday, March 2, and play at 8 p.m. March 3, 9 and 10, concluding with a Sunday, March 11, matinee at 2 p.m.
Tickets are available at the Tyler Hall box office weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays until 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Reservations may be made by calling the box office at 312-2141 or e-mailing
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Contact: Kelly Cullinan, Tyler Hall box office manager, 312-3097

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