In 1935 Sinclair Lewis wrote It Can’t Happen Here and created a play inspired by his novel. The play is about a demagogue who gets elected as the president of the United States by promising to return the country to greatness. Lewis took inspiration from the fascism Europe was facing in the 1930s to write his novel. It has been 85 years since Lewis created this play and Berkeley Repertory Theatre is producing It Can’t Happen Here as a radio play, and ACT is partnering to bring it to you with a live broadcast at 5 p.m., October 13.
Let us travel back in time to 2016. Berkeley Rep premiered a new stage adaptation of It Can’t Happen Here that ended a week before election night. Flash forward to today – 2020. Berkeley Rep made the decision to broadcast It Can’t Happen Here as a radio play and for free! They are welcoming back David Kelly as candidate Buzz Windrip and Academy Award nominee David Strathairn as the liberal protagonist Doremus Jessup. To acknowledge the importance of voting, this project wants to encourage citizens to exercise their civic duty and vote.
It is essential that each of us votes. We are less than a month away from election day — on November 3, millions of Americans will exercise their right to vote. Yet, we must remember that many Americans will not be able exercise their right due to several outside forces like voter suppression and lack of access to the polls. We must all take the right to vote as a serious duty to this country; please use your voice and vote.
So, we hope you’ll tune and listen to this magnificent play that was written 85 years ago – it’s still relevant today — make sure you are registered to vote and make sure your voice is heard on election day.
To learn more about voting, check out the voter resources compiled by our friends at MoPOP.
The production debuts on Tuesday, October 13 at 5pm PT/6pm MT/7pm CT/8pm ET via YouTube. A live Q&A session with the creative team will take place following the broadcast. The production will be available on demand through November 8.
Written by Karla Najera.