The first of a four-part series from the Pacifica Radio Archives, “Rising Waters: Militant Theater of the Thirties,” written and directed by Bill Shiels, originally aired on KPFK in 1979. A collection of plays, music, and commentary on the New Theatre League and the WPA Federal Theater Project. Today, over 70 years later, in light of a volatile, failing economy in the midst of recession, a $770 billion government bailout of Wall Street, rising rates home foreclosures and soaring unemployment, it seems like déjà vu all over again. In 2009, however, we've seen the election of the first black American President and, to coin a phrase, the audacity of hope. Upon reflection, the material seems more relevant, timely and prescient than ever. Part I focuses on the Amateur Political Theater of 1930-1935.
The second part of the series “The Shift to Realism, A Broader Reach and the Labor Theater" spans 1935 – 1942, a time of challenges sounding eerily familiar today - with one striking sign of progress in 2009 - Whether it's Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Barack Obama taking the reigns of power amidst war and economic trevails, everything old seems new again. We'll need all the hope he can muster.