APRIL 21, 1944
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Yesterday afternoon we went to a tea given by Mr. George Carlin of United Feature Syndicate and Mrs. Carlin. There were a number of interesting people there and I was happy to have this opportunity to see them.
In the evening I attended a special showing of three plays produced by "Stage for Action." This group decided some time ago that we have a real need for informed and active citizens in this country, and that one way to give people information is to do it painlessly, through the drama. They decided that if the plays were good, people would enjoy them, but they would also get the point and go out and work in their communities on the problems presented.
They use a little of the technique of the "Living Newspaper," and the audience is made to feel very much a part of the show because its members speak up and take part in the discussion of what is going on on the stage. Not long ago, while giving a play at one of the servicemen's centers, one of the boys who was not part of the cast spoke up from the audience. It started a controversy and the actors entered into it, and I gather it brought out much interesting talk. The only thing they didn't tell us last night was whether the actors persuaded the man in the audience that their point of view was the right one!
Much help from the Theatre Group in the way of writers, musicians and actors has been extended to the four moving spirits of the organization: Donna Keath, who is the chairman; Perry Miller, the executive secretary; Berrilla Kerr, production manager; and Elias Goldin, the treasurer. They do not receive salaries, but they would like to be able to have an office of their own and a couple of people on salary who could devote all their time to spreading this activity throughout the nation and establishing it on a firm basis in headquarters in New York City. They raised some money last night, but I hope many more people will be willing to help them.
The drama can make situations real to people in a way that is hard to do through the written word, except to people who are accustomed to learning that way. Perhaps these scripts produced on the stage will also be given over the radio.
Mr. Fredric March told me last night that he had given one of the plays, titled "That They May Win," by Arthur Miller, over the radio. Mr. March was one of the contributors last night. It is a great credit to these young people in the theatre who want to do this job as citizens through work in their own profession, and I wish them the best of luck.