Duration: 80 minutes without interval
In the summer of 1936, the San Francisco News asked John Steinbeck to investigate the living conditions of the labourers who had been driven to California from the central regions of the United States, above all from Oklahoma and Arkansas, by the terrible sand storms and consequential drought that had rendered the cotton fields barren. The result of his investigation was a series of articles from which the American writer created the novel The Grapes of Wrath three years later, in 1939. The play you will see is the story of how John Steinbeck turned that decisive journalistic, human and political experience into a great piece of literature.
Emanuele Trevi writes: “It is an extraordinary narrative figure - both archaic and very modern - that emerges in this stage piece based on John Steinbeck's masterpiece. And there is perhaps no actor on the Italian theatre scene more suited than Massimo Popolizio to lend form and a voice to this immensely powerful and unforgettable storyteller that is suited to the literary greatness of its inspiration. On reading The Grapes of Wrath, we soon begin to recognise this nameless character that pulls the strings of the story. Nothing is new to him: he knows the human heart and the desperation of the forlorn as though he were one of them, but unlike them he also knows the cause of their destiny, the inescapable dynamics of social injustice, the relations between individual history and the natural landscape, technological change and climate uncertainty. All of this seems in his long account to come to life, with more detail and the strength of a declaration of truth made with precision and compassion. More than a "reduction”, we feel that a stage adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath has to highlight the infinite poetry of Steinbeck’s narrative method, rendering it even more evident and effective than in reading. In speaking of the most devastating farmers’ migration in modern history, Massimo Popolizio will bring to life an epic and lyrical, realistic and visionary one-man show that continues to astound for its painful and pressing topicality. The countermelody is entrusted to the kaleidoscope of live sound created by the percussionist Giovanni Lo Cascio”.
Piccolo Teatro Strehler
from 20 January to 7 February 2021
based on the novel "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck
icreated and voiced by Massimo Popolizio
adapted by Emanuele Trevi
live music by Giovanni Lo Cascio
a Compagnia Umberto Orsini / Teatro di Roma-Teatro Nazionale production