Inherit the Wind. From the movie.
So from my youth, this is what happened in theatre based on politics:
The right wing would be in ascendancy in the US. Nixon or Reagan would get in the White House, or bills would come before congress demanding that prayer be reinstalled in schools. And almost like clockwork, local theater companies and regional groups would trot out their warhorse plays against the Right. It was usually INHERIT THE WIND or THE CRUCIBLE, Arthur Miller’s cry of the heart against out of control Judiciary and religious bigotry. And after a few years, the threat would go away and regional theater would go back to GODSPELL or WHEN YOU COMIN’ BACK RED RYDER?.
The rise of MAGA Trump should be a cue for the theatre world to revive old warhorses like CRUCIBLE and trot them out to their season ticket holders. Also not seeing revivals of BENT or more recent protest productions. Where’s the new version of CABARET? Does GOOD hit too close?
Not this time.
Could it be that artists are afraid of being dragged into partisan wrangling? Is nonprofit theater too afraid of the way the wind is blowing?
I’ve made comments to friends over the years about whether the best way of fighting the tidal wave is reviving plays from the heyday of Spencer Tracy. But there was something comforting about hearing a sane, logical voice sounding off against the tidal wave of repression.
And now what?