By Sammy Younan
To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the theatre school has snatched up quasi-famous director Kelly Robinson for a production of John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Robinson is the director of creative development for “Honest” Ed Mirvish’s production company.
He recently directed West Side Story at the Stratford Festival, and has been a choreographer for Columbia Pictures.
Theatre school chair Perry Schneiderman says Robinson will help to inspire the graduating class of actors, dancers and technicians.
Fourth-year theatre technical production student Elyssa Caron is the assistant designer, and classmate Tait Sala is the lightning designer.
Robinson wants to make this theatre experience as real as possible for the audience. To do this, he has done away with conventional sound effects, opting to have the actors create all the sounds.
The Grapes of Wrath was first published in 1939 and follows the story of an Oklahoma family suffering through the Great Depression. It’s considered to be the distinctive work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Steinbeck because it looked at a time in America many wanted to forget.
The story has been further popularized by a Bruce Springsteen song — “The Ghost of Tom Joad” — and a movie (1940).
Louis Owens says Steinbeck’s story becomes the story of mankind’s quest for profound comprehension.
The theatre school’s version of the story has been adapted by Frank Galati.
The Grapes of Wrath will set the tone for other shows later this year, including Requiem, Dances 2000, and Nana.
The Grapes of Wrath will run Wednesday until next Saturday.