Saturday, April 5, 2014

WPA Theatre: No More Peace

Information about WPA theatre productions is not always easy to find. There does not appear to be a comprehensive, easy-to-use online database (i.e., their plots, lengths of performance, attendance records, etc.). From the WPA poster above, and from information about this poster from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, we know that "No More Peace" was a satire that played in Cincinnati in 1937. A Wikipedia page about the playwright Ernst Toller (spelled Ernest in the poster above) reports that "No More Peace" was a short-lived, poorly received play about the rise of the Nazis.

Being a satire, "No More Peace" may have been similar to the WPA Theatre production of "It Can't Happen Here," a satirical play by Sinclair Lewis about the rise of a Nazi-like government in the United States. "It Can't Happen Here" ended up being very popular. According to author Susan Quinn, the play "wound up playing a total of 260 weeks, or five years, in theatres all around the country. It was seen by more than 316,000 people." (Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art Out of Desperate Times, New York: Walker and Company, 2008, p. 127).

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