by Donna Russell & David Ranney
In chaotic bohemian Chicago of the 1920s, a powerful love affair is threatened by illness, a “red” scare and anti Semitic hatred. Confined to a TB sanitarium, Rhoda corresponds with Jerry, a left wing Jewish bookseller. Their letters reveal that the challenges and hatred they face are countered by their mutual love for each other, their love of literature, poetry and music and the left wing political causes they fight for. Their struggles come to life in the counter culture of Chicago’s Dil Pickle Club, which is frequented by Rhoda, Jerry and their friends like poet Carl Sandburg, lawyer Clarence Darrow, labor leader Jack Jones, hobo and left wing debater Lizzie Davis and feminist “Red” Martha Biegler. The discovery of the letters nearly a century later in an abandoned trunk offers a message of hope by linking their past to the present.
PODCAST: SCENES FROM DEAR RHODA
A one hour reading of scenes from the play and a commentary by its authors is available at: