In the first half of the song cycle, the Mother sings Dimestore Lullaby as she puts her baby to bed. More that just a simple "good night" wish for her child, the song expresses The Mother's desire to escape the overwhelming reality in which she finds herself. In the second half of Spare A Dime, The Mother sings Indivisibly, a song about interconnectedness and our responsibility to each other. Indivisibly merges, appropriately, with FDR's reprise of Life Turns on a Dime to end the show.
By the last census count, nearly 22% of America children live in poverty, disproportionate to 15% of Americans living in poverty overall. In Philadelphia, the poverty rate is even higher and on the rise: nearly 40% of children now live in poverty, as do 28% of residents overall. Although there are no governmental statistics on poverty in the Great Depression, just imagine how much worse it must have been with no social safety nets in place.
Records do show that homelessness grew enormously during the Depression. In 1931, public and private agencies had to provide emergency lodgings for over 1 million people. By 1933, over 4.3 million people were in emergency shelters. (Each night in America today, over 600,000 people are still homeless.) The New Deal shifted much of the responsibility for providing for people in crisis and living in poverty to the federal government.
We've now posted about all the Spare A Dime individual characters, but there is one other presence that plays an important part in our production: The Chorus of Liberty! Tune in tomorrow to learn more -- and to hear more, get your tickets to Spare A Dime at PIFA 13 today!