Monday, October 24, 2011

History Repeating

This week, 22 theaters (see listing below) in the United States and Great Britain will present It Can't Happen Here in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of its debut on October 27, 1936 in 21 theaters across America as part of the Federal Theatre Project.

I am very glad to say that Cleveland, one of the original cities to present this work, will be represented.

TONIGHT! FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Seriously, no reservations will be accepted, please come to Cleveland Public Theater tonight at 7 PM for all the fun. We will begin with a brief, ten-minute play I wrote about backstage jitters prior to the opening night at the Carter Theater at East 9th and Prospect (fiction) and critical and popular reaction to the production (non-fiction.)

Also featured will be Cleveland historian John Vacha, to share images from the original production and special insight into the Federal Theater Project.

Then the main event, a staged reading of the drama as written by Sinclair Lewis and John C. Moffitt for the 1936 productions. If you have ever seen or read the dramatic version of It Can't Happen Here, you most likely have not read this one. He rewrote the entire thing for a professional (non-Federal Theater) production two years later, and that is the one available through Dramatists Play Service.

I am extremely pleased with the company for tonight's reading, some of my favorite performers in Cleveland, from many different Cleveland area theaters.

Even more important, I am more impressed with the script, now that I have heard it read aloud by professionals. I think this play would have seemed hopeless dated fifteen years ago, but now I am no longer sure. There are certain passages that fill me with a great deal of unease. 1936 was a turning point in the Great Depression, FDR was up for reelection and there were those who feared he had gone too far -- and the unequaled landslide victory he received a week after the premiere of this play I am sure made some feel even more concerned about one man having too much power.

Tomorrow Vacha and I will appear on WCPN's Around Noon, which will feature the performance of a scene which includes this passage; young Julian Falck has joined Presidential candidate, Senator Buzz Windrip's band of Corpos, who act as Windrip's own corps of Brownshirts:
I've worked exactly four months during the past year --and that' s better than most of my classmates. Youth today isn't asking for a cinch or looking for glory! Youth is yelling for a job! And the Corpos will find one for me! They'll tell me what to do, and they'll feed me! They'll shake off this bungling "Democracy" and order things so that we'll get a living. When that happens -- I'll get a sweet, wholesome girl, and stop playing Romeo to a vacant balcony. We're not bandits! We're realists. We're through sitting around being Parlor Pinks. We're working together -- behind Buzz Windrip, the Man on Horseback.
Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street? A little bit of both. Not sure I can tell.

Be there.


Sponsoring Theatres:
Dell'Arte International, San Francisco Mime Troupe
Consideration provided by:
Dramatists Play Service, New York


MONDAY, OCTOBER 17th - 7:00 pm

The Living Theater in collaboration with the Accidental Repertory Theater
... The Living Theatre, 21 Clinton St., NYC

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23rd - 7:00 pm

presented by Burning Clown Productions in concert with the Workshop Theater Company
Ellington Room, Manhattan Plaza, 400 W 43rd St., 2nd Floor, NYC

MONDAY, OCTOBER 24th - times vary (see each listing):

San Francisco Mime Troupe - 7:00 pm
855 Treat Ave., San Francisco CA

Cleveland Public Theatre - 7:00 pm
6415 Detroit Ave., Cleveland OH

Bruka Theatre - 7:00 pm
99 N. Virgina St., Reno NV

Mitchell Theatre, Vilas Hall - 7:00 pm
University of Wisconsin - Madison, WI

Museum of History & Industry - 7:00 pm
presented by Global Works
2700 24th Ave. East, Seattle WA

Syracuse University Drama Department - 7:00 pm
Archibald Theatre, 820 E. Genesee St., Syracuse NY

Spotlight "Still Got It" Players - 7:00 pm
Village Theatre at Cherry Hill
5400 Cherry Hill Rd., Canton, MI

Atlantic Stage, 79th Avenue Theatre - 7:30 pm
900 79th Ave N, Myrtle Beach SC

Great Basin College - 7:30 pm
1500 College Parkway, Elko NV

Dell'Arte International - 8:00 pm
Carlo Theatre, 131 H Street, Bluelake CA

Random Radio People broadcast - 8:00 pm
KMUD radio 91.1 FM

The Blank Theatre's Living Room Series - 8:00 pm
2nd Stage Theatre, 6500 Santa Moncia Blvd., Hollywood CA

The Desert Rose Playhouse - time TBD
6921 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuquerque NM

Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble - time TBD
Iroquois Ampitheater, 1080 Ampitheater Rd., Louisville KY

The Rogue Theatre - time TBD
300 E. University Blvd., Tucson AZ

The Ghost Road Company & Trade City Productions --7:30 PM
The Village Green Clubhouse
5300 Rodeo Road, Baldwin Hills, CA 90016\ghostroadcompany

Fuse Theatre Ensemble--7:30 PM
Arena Stage, Theater
Portland, OR

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25th - 6:30 pm

Locust Productions, Kirkwood Theatre
400 Walnut St., Des Moines IA

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26th - 8:00 pm

The Antaeus Company, DeafWest Theater
5114 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood CA

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27th - 1-6 pm (GMT)
ARTEL (American-Russian Theatre Ensemble Laboratory), Leeds
Alec Clegg Studio, Leeds, UK

No comments:

Post a Comment