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Another Radio Drama! Great stuff, that LA Theater works. This one was a “docudrama.” Love that word, it sounds so fake.
Of course, it is based on the House Unamerican Activities Committee hearings. Those hearings trouble me. I have been trying to get my head around them. The paranoia about communism seems excessive in retrospect. It was hard to believe that people really took it seriously.
But they really did. People lost their jobs because they knew people who were interested in a political viewpoint.
I can hardly think how this country, based on radical political ideals, would so trample on communism.
But it happened.
The play was based on real transcripts from the hearings: hence the “docu”mentary part of the docudrama.
There seemed to be a real emphasis on how bad it was to inform on other people. the consequences were pretty severe for the ones named as “members of the communist party.” They couldn’t get work.
It reminds me of the situation now, somewhat. I wonder how Muslim groups might be thinking and feeling now. I haven’t heard much about how those detained have been questioned. I suspect they too are asked to name the names of people they know. I might have to find out more about this, I am only speculating right now.
The part that made the most impact on me was the conclusion. James Earl Jones played the voice of Paul Robeson. Of course, Jones’s voice is marvelous. But the words that Robeson said were marvelous. He was so proud and magnificent, and the House committee members were scornful of him, because he was African American.
It made me want to find out more about Robeson.