WPA job programs focused on developing solutions to all these problems and more: thousands of new civic structures were built across the nation. New hospitals, airports, and schools (like Bok Tech, our performance venue for Spare A Dime) benefited the larger community, as well as the workers that the WPA employed to build them.
The Builder's story is based on a local history provided to us by a resident of White Horse Village senior living community. Her out-of-work father found a job with the WPA, learning the construction skills he used for the rest of his life to support himself and his family. The character's plight also resonates with many of the stories we've collected from unemployed workers in the Great Recession, in particular the tale of a contractor we met in Philadelphia's Roxborough neighborhood. He wondered where to find "just a bit of hope." In the first half of the song cycle, The Builder sings Foundation of Hope, asking just that question of the audience. After intermission, the character sings an affectionate duet, Change in the Making, with The Merchant, as described yesterday. Who or what is the object of his admiration? Come to PIFA 13 and find out!
Tomorrow's character post? The Veteran!