Portage Center for the Arts, Portage, WI
November 13-23, 2014
Our story begins 16 years before the first notes of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” in 1890 with the Oklahoma land grab. Like many people, Laurey’s parents went west attempting to pursue the American Dream and make a new life. Although they successfully staked their claim and built their farmhouse, their decision to move West proved fatal leaving Laurey as an orphan in the care of her Aunt Eller.
At the beginning of the play, the farmers are competition with the cowboys for land as open land is becoming scarce. Laurey's farm becomes all the more desirable. But in 1906 when she marries all of her money, land, and holdings will legally belong to her husband. Of course shecan continue to make her way as a single woman, but as the play progresses it becomes clearer that she is unable to protect herself from the menacing forces closing in around her. She is not indecisive – she knows that she loves Curly, but she needs to make sure that Curly loves her too and doesn't just want her land.
This is the story of a young community and their hope and promises. As we watch their story, the Oklahoma Territory is less than a year away from becoming a state. Full participation in the American dream fuels the hopes of Laurey, Curly, Will, Ado Annie, and their whole community.They can’t see the looming hardship of the dust bowl years in the 1930’s. They only know that there is a better life waiting to be made and if they work to farm the land, build that schoolhouse, and not fight amongst themselves they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.
Feature article in the Portage Daily Register