Haymarket, by Zayd Dohrn, centers around the events surrounding the evening of May 4, 1886, a day in which, anarchist organizers called a meeting in the Haymarket Square in Chicago to demand an eight-hour day for the city's workers. 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 corwd, 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 those leaders, Albert Parsons, and his wife Lucy Parsons, a bi-racial ex-slave. Using newspapers, trial transcripts, and in original scenes, the play shows the aftershocks from the May 4 explosion that rocked the city of Chicago in the summer of 1886. 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 this New York premiere.