Given the omnipresence of performers of all political stripes speaking for a variety of causes and candidates, it is difficult to remember a time when artist-activists were not an integral part of America's theatrical landscape. Indeed, under David Douglass's leadership, the American Company (formerly the Hallam Company) assuaged Puritan fears about the presence of ‘theatricals’ in staid eighteenth-century New England by performing benefits for local causes, thereby injecting its work with a social purpose. Throughout its history the American theatre has used performance as a propaganda weapon for such causes as abolition (Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852), temperance (Ten Nights in a Bar Room, 1858), civil rights (A Raisin in the Sun, 1959), and currently the AIDS crisis (Angels in America, 1993). Political activism in the American theatre flourished in the 1930s, largely through the work and ideology of such enterprises as the Group Theatre, the Theatre Union, even the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, and similar left-wing movements that sought to produce plays that deal boldly with deep-going social conflicts, the economic, emotional, and cultural problems that confront the majority of people. The mission was realized mostly through traditional theatre means, i.e. plays or agit-prop dramas à la Federal Theatre Project's Living Newspapers. These have been chronicled in a number of useful surveys, most notably Gerald Rabkin's Drama and Commitment (1964), Sam Smiley's The Drama of Attack (1972), and especially Malcolm Goldstein's detailed look at the 1930s radical theatre, The Political Stage (1974).