Oogst van de wrok
John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath is an ode to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit, even in cruel circumstances. The setting for this epic quest is the legendary Route 66, the shortest way to the land of oranges.
In this shocking masterpiece we follow the fortunes of the Joads, who, like thousands of other families in the 1930s, were forced to move West. The reasons for this migration? The Great Depression in the American economy following the Wall Street Crash in 1929 and an exceptional drought called ‘the Dust Bowl’.
In states such as Oklahoma, where the Joad family had lived for several generations, these factors led to distressing situations to which there was only one possible answer: to move in search of a better life.
But reaching the promised land of California is one thing; building a new life there is something else.
Ultimately, the story of the Joads is one of false hope: the sacrifices made on the way are too onerous, the reward at the end of the journey too meagre.
Just as in his version of Chekhov’s Platonov (2013), director Luk Perceval has created his own radical interpretation of this renowned story. Following FRONT Polyphonie (2014), this is the second co-production by NTGent and the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, where Perceval has worked for many years.
The issue of immigration and how to deal with it is more topical than ever.
In political, but also human terms, this subject challenges us to reflect on our status with great humility. Have we not all been refugees, in a recent or distant past? And how fair is it to close frontiers to families whose only goal is a decent existence?
In Steinbeck’s masterly novel, these questions rebound like a boomerang back to present-day Europe. And the bottom line is: what harvest do we want to reap in the long term?