About The Storm in the Barn

Caption
Jack entering the barn.
Citation
“The Storm in the Barn.” Oregon Children's Theatre, https://www.octc.org/the-storm-in-the-barn

The Storm in the Barn by Eric Coble takes place in Kansas in 1937 during the peak of the dust bowl. The play begins with men and women stepping forward to tell stories but is constantly shut down by each other. Until a young boy about 11 years old starts by telling when the world turned to dust. The lights change, and we meet Jack, an 11-year-old boy from Kansas. Jack gets bullied by two older boys from his town, Ray and Frank, for being small. As they are picking on him, there is a dust storm that Jack gets caught in. Luckily he makes it home safe, but his mother and father are not happy that he didn't take shelter. During this confrontation, a doctor at their home tended to Jack's older sister, Dorthey, who developed dust pneumonia. Due to the new and rising conditions from the dust, families are forced to leave their farms. Because of Dorthey's worsening condition, Ma thinks it would be best for the family to pack up even though it means leaving their home. There hasn't been rain in over three years, there is no crop, and the animals are dying because of the dust. They no longer have the resources to survive as they did before the dust storm. Jack is drawn to the locked barn doors of a family who recently just left town. As his infatuation grows for the barn, his desire to end the drought and suffering does too. Each time he visits the barn, he makes a discovery that will draw him back again. His father and sister have warned him, but he feels that he is drawn to the barn to save the land. On his final visit to the barn, Jack meets the Storm King, who keeps the rain to themselves because the people's desire for rain generates power for the Storm King. After almost being drawn to death, Jack escapes and can retrieve the valise. Jack gets the valise with all his strength, and as it opens and floats into the sky, rain begins to fall. The town is ecstatic, and Jack and his family no longer have to leave.

Greenturgical Analysis

The Storm in the Barn takes place in Kansas in 1937 amidst the dust bowl. Eric Coble wrote the play for younger audiences, so the language and length may seem shorter than regular productions. As the play begins, you know that the dust bowl has affected Jack's older sister, Dorthy. In "Adolescent Literature as a Complement to the Content Areas: Social Science," Paula Greathouse, Joan F. Kaywell, and Brooke Eisenbach discuss what they would do with younger students before reading the play. One of their ideas was for the students to envision what they were going to be reading. They said, "In this lesson, students' pre-reading experience engages and scaffolds the initial aspects of the inquiry arc. Using VTS (Yenawine, 2013) in which students are actively engaging with art, display a panel from The Storm in the Barn" (Greathouse, Kaywell, Eisenbach 37). This pre-reading lesson is beneficial when highlighting if nature is at stake and if there are anyways to solve the issue. This approach will allow you to use your pre-existing knowledge of the production and visualize how power and nature will be represented on stage.

Greenturgical Analysis

The Storm in the Barn takes place in Kansas in 1937 amidst the dust bowl. Eric Coble wrote the play for younger audiences, so the language and length may seem shorter than regular productions. As the play begins, you know that the dust bowl has affected Jack's older sister, Dorthy. In "Adolescent Literature as a Complement to the Content Areas: Social Science," Paula Greathouse, Joan F. Kaywell, and Brooke Eisenbach discuss what they would do with younger students before reading the play. One of their ideas was for the students to envision what they were going to be reading. They said, "In this lesson, students' pre-reading experience engages and scaffolds the initial aspects of the inquiry arc. Using VTS (Yenawine, 2013) in which students are actively engaging with art, display a panel from The Storm in the Barn" (Greathouse, Kaywell, Eisenbach 37). This pre-reading lesson is beneficial when highlighting if nature is at stake and if there are anyways to solve the issue. This approach will allow you to use your pre-existing knowledge of the production and visualize how power and nature will be represented on stage.