Here it is, the first in our series of three prompts, designed to help inform our upcoming Steinbeck Project workshop. The Cal Shakes New Works/New Communities program would love for you to leave your input in the "comments" section below, via prose, poetry, links to video or audio, and whatever else you can think of. Posting your comments on an individual prompt blog during its first week gets you entered in a drawing to win a prize*, and all comments are eligible for publication in Cal Shakes newsletters, on our website, and/or in the program for John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven during our 2010 season.**
And so now, without further ado, here's your first prompt, written by none other than Octavio Solis, the award-winning playwright of John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven.
In The Pastures of Heaven, as in most of his other novels dealing with Salinas, Steinbeck depicts the hard lives of the rural working class. There are migrant workers, chicken farmers, cattle ranchers, orchard growers, construction workers, etc., peppered throughout his works. Can you think of other contemporary writers working today who focus on this labor force? Has anyone in your background ever worked the land like Steinbeck's characters? What particular kind of work did they do?
*Prize still to be determined. Please leave your email address somewhere in your comment!!
**Don't worry, we'll ask your permission first.
Photo of Octavio Solis by Anne Hamersky.