There are many elements to a play that can engage the minds of an audience. Paper Wheat uses the history of its audience to keep them captivated. Written around 1977, Paper Wheat focuses on a period in the early part of the 20th century when many migrants and immigrants were moving to Western Canada in search of a prosperous living. They heard that land was cheap, and they wanted to be wheat farmers. PaperWheat’s target audience is the retired farmers and their families who are now looking back on the hardships and struggles they endured. It is an historical reflection of their lives.
Paper Wheat is a collective creation by 25th Street House Theatre, and opened in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The decision to open in the mid-west indicates the target audience. What is so engaging to the audience is looking back on the history of their lives and seeing themselves and their neighbors in the action portrayed onstage.
The many themes contained within the play are additional evidence that the play was constructed for a specific group of people who would find it entertaining. The role of cooperation and the formation of co-op’s in the mid-west are two of the central themes to Paper Wheat. In a scene entitled The Report in Act II, the audience listens to a monologue given by Ed Partridge in whi...
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...tants”, as this is the worst thing he can think of to call them!
There are many different elements that can be used to engage an audience’s interest. The overall success of Paper Wheat proves that really getting to know and identify with the characters themselves is not really necessary for an audience to remain interested. In the case of Paper Wheat, the audience is able to identify with the plot, they are able to see a historical reflection of their lives. They are also able to relate to the message of the play. These can be just as powerful and interesting as identifying with the characters themselves. When you add spectacle elements and a comedic backdrop to the story, you have a delightful play that the audience can both learn from and enjoy, and this is what we have in Paper Wheat.
25th Street House Theatre. Paper Wheat. Copyright 1977.
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