The Grapes of Wrath – Audience Guidelines

Written by admin on August 7th, 2012. Posted in Mainstage Shows

The Grapes of Wrath is the story of the Joad family who lose their farm during the Great Depression and head to California in search of a better life. The stage version is closely adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and Asheville Community Theatre is committed to (and is legally bound) to produce this script as published. However, some material in The Grapes of Wrath may not be appropriate for all audiences. Asheville Community Theatre gives the show a movie rating of PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Adult Language

Language that some may consider blasphemous is used frequently throughout the play. Additional swearing is also used throughout the play.


As the play opens, Tom Joad has been released from prison after being arrested for killing a man with a shovel. Two fights occur onstage – one between members of the Joad family and the police and one between the striking workers and the farm owners. (Authority figures and big businesses are portrayed as mostly corrupt). Guns are used and gunshots are heard.


Some characters talk about drinking for the sole purpose of getting drunk and some characters appear intoxicated.

Sexual References

Tom and former preacher Casy have several crude and fairly graphic sexual discussions, including one where Casy refers to his preference for sex immediately after a sermon. A joke is told about the size of his male anatomy.


Rose of Sharon breastfeeds a dying adult stranger who is starving. (The nonsexual, nongraphic scene is a metaphor for the Joads’ respect for life and their fellow man and is meant to symbolize hope.)