Theatre presents Sandburg epic poem

In its first presentation of the 2013-14 season, Hanover College Theatre will present “The People, Yes.” Based on an adaptation of the classic epic poem by Carl Sandburg, performances take place Friday through Sunday, Oct. 4-6, at 7:30 p.m., in Parker Auditorium on the Hanover campus.

Written in 1936 at the height of the Great Depression, Sandburg’s inspiring poem uses the language of ordinary people with remarkable power. He saw the human virtues of understanding and solidarity as the best hope for true prosperity.

Though the poem is composed in a distinctively American dialect, it directs the listener’s attention to the story of the whole human race, opening with “From the four corners of the earth” and moving toward global unity and cooperation in “the people will live on.”

According to Professor of Theatre Jim Stark, the play’s director, Sandburg hears certain echoes in human history: ­echoes of brutal rulers and heroic commoners; echoes of loving families and compassionate strangers; echoes of restless longing and settled hope.

Laughter, too, echoes through the lines of the poem, ­affectionate laughter at our silliness and bitter laughter at the senseless cruelties we sometimes impose on each other. The poet resolutely insists that in spite of our obstacles and vices, we will learn to do better.

“This masterpiece has spoken to me every day since I first heard it, more than 20 years ago,” said Stark. “Sandburg, the voice of America, transcends tribal boundaries in this work, calling the Family of Man into a future of creativity, diversity and cooperation. I hope you will enjoy hearing that call.”

Tickets for “The People, Yes” will be available at the door, and are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+), $5 for youth (high school and under) and free for Hanover faculty and staff.