On August 7 and 8, audiences at the National Steinbeck Center were treated to a reading of excerpts from John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, adapted by Octavio Solis. Members of the original production’s cast read four stories—Tularecito, Junius Maltby, Pat Humbert, and the Tortilla Sisters—for an appreciative group of 130 attendees of the annual Steinbeck Festival.
After each reading, a brief talkback was held with the cast. Playwright Solis described the process of adapting Steinbeck’s novel into a play; audience members shared ideas for bringing this text into school classrooms; and actors were asked to comment on how, exactly, you play six or seven characters in one night without losing track.
In between readings, the cast explored the town of Salinas and visited Corral de Tierra, many getting a look at the region for the first time.
Hijos del Sol’s beautiful mural, Las Pasturas del Cielo, was installed in the Steinbeck Center in time for the festival; it will remain there through the end of 2010, at which point it will travel to D.C., where it will join members of the cast for another presentation of Pastures in January 2011 at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Schedule of performances will be released later this year. Click here for more info on Arena Stage and the New Play Development Program.