Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Characters of Crossing, Part III: Seeking a Newer World

"Seeking a Newer World"

Part III in a series exploring the history and characters behind Signature’s world premiere of Crossing, by Matt Conner and Grace Barnes.

If you missed the first few, click here to view Part I: Freedom Trains

and click here to view Part II: Mothers & Sons.

 Here is a sneak-peek of Crossing's talented travelers in rehearsal!

 “Why couldn’t we have met at another time?” the Wealthy Man (year: 1929) asks the Woman With Flowers (1977)as they sit side-by-side nervously waiting for the train to arrive in Crossing’s station. Although they are from different decades, they share a sense of disconnection from their families. They also share a love of poetry, particularly of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s Ulysses. One of them looks toward the future with despair, the other with hope, but like all of Crossing’s characters, they meet in the middle and continue their journey changed.

The World of 1929: The Wealthy Man

“Sail to the end of the world and change my name.
Let my wings unfurl, nothing will be the same,
Sail to a different me, someone whom I’ve never seen.
Set my spirit free.”

On October 29, 1929, the roaring success and glamour of the ‘20s came to a screeching halt as the Stock Market abruptly crashed on “Black Tuesday.” Investors lost everything. According to one stock exchange witness:
“Men hollered and screamed, they clawed at one another’s collars. It was like a bunch of crazy men. Every once in a while, when Radio or Steel or Auburn would take another tumble, you’d see some poor devil collapse and fall to the floor.”
The Great Depression had begun.

Changing family ideals furthered the sense of disorder. The liberal ‘20s introduced the idea of “companionate marriages,” meaning that wives and husbands should share their personal lives, domestic responsibilities, and the work outside the home. Although this meant more equality for women, it was also threatening and confusing for someone raised in the Victorian ideals of a patriarchal family structure with the husband as the head and breadwinner. What was a man’s true role in his family?

The World of 1977: The Woman with Flowers
"The world has a way of always changing,
Slowly shifting, slightly rearranging,
Sometimes making no sense at all.
It’s unpredictable.
They’re little miracles."

The 1970s continued the social upheaval of the ‘60’s. Anti-war protests turned violent in the Kent State Massacre, and the Watergate Scandal eroded faith in government. And on November 18, 1978, “Reverend” Jim Jones led 900 people in the largest mass suicide/murder in history. Jones was a master manipulator, fooling politicians, his congregation, and his many female companions. His “People’s Temple” willingly moved to Guyana, where they drank Kool-Aide laced with cyanide.
"Jonestown" after the mass suicides

Despite these disturbing events, opportunities for women were increasing, particularly in the field of medicine. With the Title IX Act banning discrimination by gender in schools, the number of women physicians was on the rise. Self-help books written by women for women, such as The Feminine Mystique and Our Bodies, Ourselves, allowed women to educate themselves about their own health. The feminist movement also encouraged women to have their own identity apart from being a wife and mother. The American family looked very different than the previous decades. Divorce rates were rising, and more women were “working moms.”


Nearly 200 years, but still getting airtime. Ulysses, featured in 2012's Skyfall (dir: Sam Mendes.) 

Victorian poet Lord Alfred Tennyson penned Ulysses in 1833 upon hearing about the death of his best friend. Bowed by grief and his financially struggling family, Tennyson dreams of following the path of the wandering Greek hero Ulysses from Homer’s Odyssey:

'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die…
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

directed by Eric Schaeffer 
music and lyrics by Matt Conner
book and additional lyrics by Grace Barnes 

October 29-November 24

  For more information, including ticketing, click here




Too good piece of information, I had come to know about your site from my friend sunny, raipur,i have read atleast 11 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your web-page gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new post, once again hats off to you! Thanks a lot once again, Regards, bob marley quotes

Post a Comment


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More