Why Do You Stand There in the Rain? by Peter Arnott
You are all heroes now, but some day they’ll treat you like dogs
"When I marched off to war in 1917, I remember a Civil War veteran, over 70 years old, telling me, ‘Son, you are all heroes now. But some day they’ll treat you like dogs.'" ~Benjamin B Shepherd of the BEF
Based on the Bonus Army March of 1932 on Washington DC, Arnott’s play tells the story of what may have been the first Occupy Protest and march on the nation’s capital. 20,000 ragged and desperate First World War veterans and their families from all over the U.S. set up ‘Hoovervilles’ around the nation’s capital, to lobby Congress for the early release of a promised compensation package for services in the First World War. Congress voted no and Hoover called upon MacArthur and Patton to drive the veterans out of the capital. Armed with bullets and tear gas, 1,000 infantry and cavalrymen pushed the veterans out of Washington DC burning everything they owned.
Under the musical direction of composer and actor John Kielty, this documentary-style play with music builds on the Scottish Political Theatre legacy of live music performed by a talented ensemble. From the iconic anthem Over There to the songs of Woody Guthrie, Bessie Smith, Leadbelly and other contemporaries, this rich tapestry of tunes underscores the story of the veterans whose march on Washington D.C. led to the formation of the GI Bill. A stylistic tribute to the Scottish Political Theatre tradition, this true story for here and now is told in the words and songs of those who were there.
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