Revolt of the Beavers

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WPA poster for the play

Revolt of the Beavers was a children's play put on by the Federal Theater Project by Oscar Saul and Louis Lantz. One critic described the play as "Marxism a la Mother Goose".[1] The show ran at the Adelphi Theater in New York City from May 20, 1937, to June 19 of that year.[2] Jules Dassin [3] and John Randolph [4] were among the play's cast. The play involved a worker beaver named Oakleaf, who leads a revolt against "The Chief" Beaver who was exploiting the workers. Though the play was a fantasy fable intended for children, it was attacked by the HUAC for promoting Communist ideals.

In October 2009, the play was re-written, adapted, and performed at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as part of the University Theatre's 2009–10 season. The new adaptation was written and directed by John-Stuart Fauquet and Pete Rydberg and features an updated script, shortened production time, and smaller cast of characters.[3] In the 2009 version, the theme of environmentalism that was present in the original is highlighted even more in the story of two children who are transported to a mythical place called “Beaverland.” They are forced to work endlessly by a cruel beaver chief while he sits back and reaps the benefits, which eventually leads them to revolt and establish a society where everything is shared equally.

Revolt of the Beavers is one of the plays actor/director Tim Robbins featured in Cradle Will Rock, a 1999 film about the production of the play The Cradle Will Rock.

In 2015, New Orleans' Cripple Creek Theatre Co. mounted a staged reading/performance of Revolt of the Beavers at Stein’s Market & Deli for two performances on March 28 and 29.

In 2017, the Jim Henson Foundation awarded Joseph Therrien a Workshop Grant to create a new adaptation that included scenes from Hallie Flanagan's testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The first showing was on April 29th, 2017 at The Brooklyn Folk Festival at St. Ann's Church.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ "Jules Dassin, 96, Expatriate Film Director - The New York Sun". 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2017-02-24. 
  4. ^ "The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions". 2017-01-24. Retrieved 2017-02-24. 

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