Theater for the New City
Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director
CROSSING PATHS IN WASHINGTON SQUARE
Written by Barbara Kahn
Directed by Robert Gonzales Jr. and Barbara Kahn
Set and Light Design by Mark Marcante
Costume Design by Carla Gant
Sound Design by Joy Linscheid
Stage Manager Bill Bradford
Song “Uccellino” music by Allison Tartalia, lyrics by Barbara Kahn
Photos by Joe Bly
Cast: Ben Davis, Sasha Diamond, Robert Gonzales Jr., Bob Homeyer, Noelle LuSane, Mali MacConnell, Steph Van Vlack and Fatma Yalcin
Crossing Paths in Washington Square captures Greenwich Village as it was in 1913–racially, economically and culturally diverse.
Characters in the play represent the wealthy “patricians” of the Washington Square North townhouses; the Italian working class residents of Washington Square West; the artists and writers of the Washington Square South studios and rooming houses; the gays and lesbians beginning to build a community in Greenwich Village; the Jewish immigrants to the east of Washington Square who were still affected by the Triangle Factory fire of 1911, that happened nearby and killed so many of their relatives and neighbors; and the remnants of the African American community, most of whom had already relocated uptown to Harlem. Washington Square Park was where the disparate Village residents and visitors converged, sharing the greenery and fountain, especially during long hot summers.
Lily: I used to wonder how the women who came to the settlement house to do good deeds would feel if they were turned away because they were rich or white or worshipped at the wrong church.
Morrie: We should ban all the rich white people from the Village and the Lower East Side, make them deliver their charity by messenger.
Lily: Only dresses of muslin or cotton—no silks allowed.
Morrie: I can see it now—a whole host of rich ladies dressed in clothes borrowed from their maids or nannies begging to be allowed to go south of Eighth Street.
Lily: Or east of Broadway…
Morrie: But we’ll ban them from the Bowery…tell them they don’t belong here.
Lily: They should stick to their own kind.
Morrie: Learn to speak proper English.
Lily: Know their place.
Morrie: Don’t go where they’re not wanted.
Lily: Be a credit to their race.
Morrie: Behave themselves.
Lily: But still, we won’t let them in.