Thunder Rock



  • An allegorical play by the US dramatist Robert Ardrey. It was first performed in 1939 in New York, where the Group Theatre's productionwas a notable flop. The first London production, which starred Michael Redgrave,was much more successful; it opened in 1940 at The Neighbourhood, a fringe theater in Kensington, before transferring to the Globe Theatre for a long run.The plot concerns Charleston, a disillusioned war correspondent who has become a lighthouse keeper to escape from humanity and the coming World War. One stormy night he encounters the ghosts of those drowned in a shipwreck a centuryearlier and is forced to reconsider his attitudes. The implied critique of USisolationism is obvious.

    The London production was performed at the height of the Blitz.When the air-raid warnings sounded, Redgrave would stop the drama,walk to the front of the stage and offer to entertain the audience"in a rather more basic manner" until the all-clear. Hewould then give rousing renditions of music hall and wartime songs,such as 'Run, Rabbit, Run' and 'We're Going to Hang Out the Washingon the Siegfried Line'. These performances were soon the talk of London,and members of the audience from other theaters began to swell theranks of the Globe whenever a siren sounded. For many it was a disappointmentwhen the performance of Thunder Rock resumed.