"The Grapes of Wrath," one of the largest productions undertaken by the Emory & Henry department of theater, debuts at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 19-21 and at 2 p.m., Nov. 22 in the new McGlothlin Center for the Arts on campus.
The large-scale production will be held in the center's Main Stage Theatre.
Daniel L. Wheeler, chair of the college's theater department, is director of the production adapted by Frank Galati from the novel by John Steinbeck.
According to Wheeler, among the 55 theater majors, the production utilizes 30 student actors, three to four child actors, 14 student crew members, and another 43 students who will assist with lighting, set construction, painting and costumes.
"We wanted a large production to open the main stage of the new McGlothlin Center for the Arts, and the chance to present John Steinbeck's beautiful literature was an option we could not refuse," said Wheeler.
"This production is a great opportunity for our performance students to concentrate on their chosen craft using such beautiful language to paint the vast picturesque landscape of John Steinbeck's novel. The students will be acting on a much larger stage with an audience capacity of nearly 500. Previously we had a small 100-seat studio theater," said Wheeler.
"I think our audiences are going to be both impressed and amazed at the development and growth of the strong theater program at Emory & Henry College."
The story focuses on the Joad family and their flight from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to California. The journey is wrought with intolerance, exploitation, death and terrible deprivation before reaching their destination, where the Joads' waning hopes are dealt a final blow by the stark realities of the Great Depression.
The production demonstrates a deeply moving affirmation of the indomitability of the human spirit and of the essential strength that - then as now - resides in the hearts and minds of the "common man" throughout the world.
Tickets are $12 for the public. For tickets call the box office at the McGlothlin Center for the Arts at 276-944-6333 or visit www.ehc.edu/mca.