In Thunder Rock, successful author and former Daily News reporter, David Charleston becomes so disturbed by the state of the world; he takes a job as a lighthouse keeper and the sole resident of Thunder Rock Island. When he notices a memorial plaque dedicated to a sailing ship of immigrants who fatally crashed on the island 90 years prior, he starts to imagine how ideal life was in their time. Soon, they begin appearing to him. At first he controls them, until they decide to teach him about the eternal struggles of life.
Though never a hit in America, after the Group Theatre's original 1939 production, the play became a smash hit in Europe. During the WWII London bombings, it was the one play that continued to play in London's West End. It moved from Theatre to Theatre, and audiences sat enraptured with their gas masks in their laps. After the end of WWII, the American government mounted it in the newly freed Germany, and it was cast solely with concentration camp survivors.