The Pittsburgh Opera's production of "Grapes of Wrath" is about to open, but it is how it will end has many people wondering. Not so much what happens -- that's pretty famous -- but how it will be portrayed. The scene in which Rosasharon breast-feeds a starving old man is really only hinted at in John Steinbeck's novel. Acting it out is more difficult.
The Opera tells me that: "great care is being taken to make the breastfeeding scene at the end of the opera as tasteful and 'beatific' as possible," says the company's spokesperson Beth Parker. And the singers will have some help.
The soprano playing Rosasharn in our production is Danielle Pastin (not pictured above, which is a photo from the Minnesota Opera production from last year, but in a head shot right). The Pittsburgh Opera Center resident artist will wear a prosthetic breast made by the Carnegie Mellon University theater department (I will try to find out that person's name or someone could post it as a comment.)
It is a tricky situation, but I am sure a prosthetic breast is a great solution, one that will likely make this moment quite realistic and unsettling (like it should be) and still enormously touching.
"Grapes" plays 8 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Tuesday; 8 p.m. Nov. 21; 2 p.m. Nov. 23. Tickets start at $16; call 412-456-6666.