My dramaturgical project at Chabot College’s Department of Theater Arts is keeping me quite busy. Since the beginning of the project, I’ve observed auditions, met the company, attended a few rehearsals, begun research, and am putting together a “look book” for the use of the director, cast and crew. What a wonderful opportunity to bring together my love of theater and literature with my professional ambitions as a researcher/librarian. Further, I get to put it all together in a blog format, for which I’m creating a taxonomy that keeps it organized and easily searchable in ways that relate specifically to the production of the play, and hopefully make it more useful and accessible as a company resource.
One of my goals with this project is to bring the information I find to the students involved in the production of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath where they play out their virtual lives and in formats they will use online. Most communication outside of the rehearsal process is via Facebook. In addition to posting information on the Grapes of Wrath blog, information goes up on Twitter (#ChabotTheater) and of course, on the company Facebook group page. YouTube and other video sources have also proved valuable.
Fortunately, many wonderful images are available from the Library of Congress, as part of the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) images found in the American Memory Collection: America from the Great Depression to WWII: Black and White Photographs from the FSA-OWI 1935-1945. This is an excellent resource that is primarily in the public domain because most of the images are government documents photographed by government employees. And of course, so many of the images from this collection have become iconic, such as the image below by Dorothea Lange.
"Destitute peapickers in California; a 32 year old mother of seven children. February 1936." (retouched version)