W.P.A. Federal Theatre Project Living Newspaper, “Power” by Arthur Arent

The New Deal-era Works Progress Administration funded the Federal Theater Project between 1935-1939 as a way to support cultural artistic production and provide employment for workers in the theater business. Many of the theater projects embraced an explicitly political perspective. In “Power,” playwright Arthur Arent made the case for government-sponsored energy production, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, and rural electrical cooperatives as alternatives to inadequate and costly service offered by utility companies.

In Act 1: Scene 15, “The Tennessee Valley,” the attached excerpt from the play, what are the main criticisms leveled against the utility companies? 

How were access to electricity associated with citizenship and the government’s obligation to help hard-pressed American farmers?


Pierre De Rohan, ed., “Federal Theatre Plays,” New York: Da Capo Press, 1973.

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