Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Ostriches

People’s Theater Plays
The Cleveland Citizen, December 6, 1935

The People’s Theatre will present “The Ostriches” … a brilliant comedy on war written by Rudolph Wittenberg, who recently came to this country from Germany. The Theatre itself was organized last June to present plays of social importance to a vast audience of people who have never seen their own lives portrayed in the theatre.

Many unions have given their endorsement and a great number saw performances of an earlier production, the stirring “Waiting For Lefty,” which has revolutionized American theatre of today, both in method of presentation and in subject. Also a great number of unions in Cleveland have seen “Union Label,” a short skit which is part of its mobile theatre. In one week a play was written and rehearsed by the People’s Theatre and performed in conjunction with the Union Buyers’ Club at a benefit for the (Brunk) strikers.

War is declared in Europe and two neighbors in America join in hand-to-hand combat on their own territory. After being reconciled in jail they decide to prevent the horrors of war reaching this country by forming the “International Peace Co.” Interspaced with scene of hilarious comedy are realistic flashbacks which are signaled by descending sirens.

As the theatre was founded for the workingmen, the admissions price of 35 cents is also with his budget.
The Ostriches as translated by Howard Da Silva, opened on December 23 in a former nightclub at 4300 Carnegie. The opening night performance was delayed forty minutes (accompanied by the sounds of hammering backstage) and when the curtain finally rose you could see the wet paint on the just-completed set.
The People's Theatre is not aligned with any political party. That is the euphemistic way of saying that it is not Communistic, and its organizers wish you to be clear about that. - William F. McDermott, The Plain Dealer
The Cleveland Citizen
The Plain Dealer
Showtime in Cleveland (Vacha)

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