Randy Sharp sets her new play in the Dust Bowl (1930-1939), specifically 1936. While this period in American history has been mythologized for 82 years--the most famous images being bread lines and soup kitchens in the cities, and Henry Fonda in his jalopy, driving to the green fields of California--the truth is more complex and difficult to comprehend. The Great American Desert of the Texas and Oklahoma plains was an unimaginably blank landscape. Destroyed by the greed of wheat farmers who plowed under the bluestem and buffalo grass that held the dirt in place, the plains blew up into the air in dust storms that packed enough static electricity to power the city of New York. Ten years of drought marked by short rains black with soil made people believe they were truly witnessing the end of the world. For all the thousands who fled this terror, many refused to leave their dust-covered farms, even after all the animals died and they were eating bitter roots to survive. Using any means necessary, Axis will bring the sensation of this period to the audience so they not only hear and see this truly American disaster, but feel it as well.
'Last Man Club' is about one of the desolate families who stayed. With no one else around for a hundred miles, Major's busted family lives in a one room dugout as he tries to reconcile himself to the fact that his own kin has taken the money and run. Out of the biggest storm in the history of the Dust Bowl--200 miles wide, 15,000 feet high--come two desperate men promising a way out. Their visit is a welcome break in the grinding routine of storm/quiet/storm/quiet that Wishful Hi, Saromybride and Uncle Pogord have endured under Major's iron, heartbroken hand. But did his brother really get out and away? Who are these people? Where'd that money come from? Will the machine work? Are there lights in the sky?