The Big Read events continue to impact the Fort Worth community, as students and faculty at Texas Wesleyan proceed to act as key supporters and hosts with several events.

 

Faculty at Texas Wesleyan and Tarrant County partners have been involved in several events over the past month, including the film screening of the 1940 The Grapes of Wrath, an adaption of the subject-themed book. Partners in the Big Read include Fort Worth Independent School District, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Friends of the Fort Worth Library, Texas Christian University, Tarrant County College, The Reading Connection and more.

 

The screening was held at the Fort Worth Library March 11, followed by a Big Read reception hosted by the Fort Worth Library on March 22. Although Big Read events were held during spring break, many people supported the purpose of the events. According to the school website, the Big Read initiative supports the re-establishment of reading in American culture all over the United States, except this time in the Tarrant County community.

 

Sandra Myers, grants and communications coordinator, said she enjoyed seeing the movie The Grapes of Wrath,which was nominated for several Academy Awards and won two for best actress and best director.

 

“It was really cool to see how the film was different from the book, which it was in some ways,” Myers said. “Of course you can’t ever put everything from a book into a film.”

 

Barnes and Noble hosted the first of several planned book discussions March 11. Trinity Terrace Retirement Community hosted another on March 14.

 

Myers said the most anticipated Big Read event is the Rose Marine Theatre’s play adaption of The Grapes of Wrath called The Grapes of Wrath: A Scrapbook. Rose Marine Theatre will present the play at 7:30 p.m. March 28, 29 and 30 all three nights at the Rose Marine Theater on 1440 North Main Street in Fort Worth,Texas. General admission is $15 and General Admission for students and seniors is $10.

 

At 12:30 March 29, the play will be performed at The Thad Smotherman Theatre located in the Law Sone Fine Arts building. Ticket prices are $8 for general admission for $6 faculty and staff and $4 for students.

 

The play consists of readings by characters that existed in the 1930s, the era in which The Grapes of Wrath was set. Jeremy Jackson, senior theatre major at Wesleyan, said he is acting in the play along with Kristin Spires, adjunct voice faculty in the Theatre Department at Wesleyan.

 

“The play is a bilingual reading. Adam Adolfo, the director, read the book and knows a lot about the era and has put together these readings, I am really excited about it,” Myers said. “It is brand new.”

 

Jackson said every member in the cast is playing at least five different characters.

 

“Everyone in the cast are playing what we are referring to as migratory workers, which is pretty much just an ensemble,” Jackson said. “The play is more so a narrative as opposed to scenes.”

 

Jackson said a few of the characters he will play are Reverend Casey, a character in the novel, Tom Steinbeck, who is John Steinbeck’s son, and a three other minor characters.

 

The actors involved have been encouraged to write blogs while they are in the process of preparing for the performances.

 

According to Rose Marine Theater’s public relations website Artes De la Rosa’s contribution to The Big Read in Fort Worth is a bilingual performance of The Grapes of Wrath novel called The Grapes of Wrath: A Living Scrapbook, directed and written by Adam Adolfo.

 

According to the website, “This World Premiere production for Artes de la Rosa innovatively tells the epic journey of The Grapes of Wrath in 80 minutes with only 10 actors. The final experience is a multimedia, multi disciplinary stage celebration of the literary work of John Steinbeck.”

 

Annette Lance, senior public relations advertising major, said she looks forward to seeing how the high school students will connect to the story in this setting. Lance said there should be around 200 students attending.

 

“I meet Adam at one of the Big Read partner meetings where he discussed the process of creating this performance. It was interesting to see how he adapted a book like The Grapes of Wrath and is turning it into an interesting interpretation for the stage,” Lance said.

 

For more information on the events visit www.txwes.edu. For more information about the play and tickets visit www.rosemarinetheater.com, and for a look at the online blogs from the Artes de la Rosa cast visit http://rosemarinetheater.blogspot.com/ under 2012 The Grapes of Wrath.

 

Rolandra West

 

rdwest@txwes.edu

 

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