Explosive Haymarket Gets NYC Premiere Dec. 12

News   Explosive Haymarket Gets NYC Premiere Dec. 12
 
Haymarket, Zayd Dohrn's play about the passionate people involved in a famous clash between socialists and Chicago police in 1886, opens in an Off-Off-Broadway staging Dec. 12 at the Beckett Theatre in Theatre Row.

Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan, Inc. produces the New York premiere.

"On the evening of May 4, 1886, anarchist-socialist organizers called a meeting in the Haymarket Square in Chicago to demand an eight-hour day for the city's workers," according to production notes. "When police attempted to disperse the meeting, somebody in the crowd hurled an iron sphere filled with dynamite into the ranks of officers. The bomb exploded, the police opened fire into the crowd, and in the ensuing riot, seven policemen and several workers were killed. At the time, it was one of the most deadly acts of terrorism that had ever taken place on American soil. While the bomb-thrower was never caught, seven anarchist leaders were arrested and convicted of conspiracy. Five of them were hanged."

Haymarket focuses on one of the protest leaders, Albert Parsons, and his wife Lucy Parsons, a bi-racial ex-slave.

"Using newspapers, trial transcripts, and original scenes, the play shows the aftershocks from the May 4 explosion that rocked the city of Chicago in the summer of 1886," according to Alchemy Theatre. "The play begins moments after the bomb is thrown, and follows the lives of anarchists, policemen, elected officials, and ordinary citizens in the aftermath of tragedy and through the first 'red scare' in American history."

Robert Saxner directs as cast that includes Morgan Baker, Birgit Huppuch, Judson Jones, Dennis McNitt, Squeaky Moore and D. Zhonzinsky. The creative team includes set designer Heidi Meisenhelder, costume designer Victoria Tzykun, lighting designer Stephen Sakowski and sound designer Haddon Kime.

Previews began Dec. 9.

Playwright Zayd Dohrn grew up in New York City and Chicago, attended Brown University, and received his MFA in playwriting at Boston University. His first play, Shameless, premiered to raves at the Boston Actors Workshop. The Boston Globe named it one of 2002's "Critic's Picks." His plays have received productions at the Producers Club, Boston Director's Lab, and Boston Playwrights Theatre, where Haymarket, was nominated for seven IRNE awards and his new play, Permanent Whole Life, will receive its world premiere this year.

Robert Saxner is the producing artistic director of The Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan, Inc. His directorial work for Alchemy includes David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow and Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart; Old Soldiers at Boston's Theatre Cooperative; Tinted Window and Samarkand at the Atlantis Playmaker's Festival; John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Creep and Jean Genet's The Maids at the Actor's Workshop. Other directorial work includes Samuel Beckett's Catastrophe, Play and Act Without Words I & II at the Moscow Art Theatre School.

The Beckett Theatre (Theatre Row) is at 410 W. 42nd Street. Haymarket continues to Dec. 23. Tickets are $15. For information, call (212) 279-4200 or www.ticketcentral.com.

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The Alchemy Theatre Company Of Manhattan, Inc. "exists to produce vivid theatrical productions, devoted to visceral storytelling of contemporary, classical, and new works, and a collaborative approach to artistry, which will resonate with a diverse New York audience."

For more information, visit www.atcny.org.

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