Friday, March 29, 2013

Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother"

Dorothea Lange's 1936 photo, Migrant Mother
Along with Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath, the photography of Dorothea Lange brought the plight of the migrant workers to the attention of the American public. Lange was hired by the FSA (Farm Security Administration), which was created as a part of the New Deal, to document the lives of struggling farmers. Her photos gave faces to the disastrous impact that the Great Depression had on American families, and in turn, they helped the American public to understand why government assistance and changes in policy was so desperately needed.

Florence Owens Thompson, the woman featured in Lange's 1936 photo Migrant Mother, recorded a short audio interview about her life before the photo was taken, what happened the day the photo was taken, and a little about her life after the end of the Depression. The strength in her voice, the matter-of-fact-ness about how hard she worked - this is exactly what Steinbeck sought to capture in his novel.  Her story, like so many others, is the story of The Grapes of Wrath.

The power of the arts - visual, literary, or performing - to help explain how others live, to illuminate what might drive a person to behave in a certain way, to humanize a concept has always been a core component of our society. And though The Grapes of Wrath takes place in 1938, it has an undeniable relevancy to 1973, to 1980, to 2007, and to 2013.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dwarf Star: A Staged Reading on the Mainstage

What would you do for love?  What would you do for money?  What does love of money do to you?  Dwarf Star, inspired by the recent economic meltdown, is a dark comedy about buried passions, hidden crimes and huge money, written by Patricia Green, an Emmy winner for Cagney and Lacey and L.A. Law, who also adapted and produced Catherine Marshall’s Christy for television.

Please join us April 17th at 8:00 pm for a reading of Dwarf Star on the Mainstage with a stellar local cast (Maggie Marshall, AK Benninghofen, Jeff Benninghofen, Tiffany Cade, and Jaclyn Helms), directed by ACT favorite Michael Lilly, and the Q and A to follow.  This will be the first time Dwarf Star is read to a live audience, a crucial step in the creative process.  

Tickets are free for this event, but reservations are strongly encouraged.  To confirm your tickets, call the ACT Box Office at 828-254-1320 and come help us give birth to a new play!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Grapes of Wrath: Discussion Guide

Our brand new Discussion Guide for The Grapes of Wrath has hit the stands! A number of local book clubs are reading the novel in advance, then joining us for a performance - and they're also receiving commemorative book marks. If your book club would like to be a part of our "From Page to Stage" program, please contact us at

And if you're not in a book club, we encourage you to read the novel, look through the Discussion Guide, and attend the talk back performance on Sunday, April 14, 2014! Or, join us at Avenue M on Merrimon Ave. on Sunday, April 21 at 11:30 am for a pre-show brunch.