J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Blood on the Snow at the Old State House

As of last night, there are seats available for only three of the upcoming performances of Blood on the Snow, a historical play produced by the Bostonian Society in the Old State House.

Written by Patrick Gabridge, the drama depicts the aftermath of the Boston Massacre on the morning of 6 Mar 1770. Boston’s political leaders, headed by Samuel Adams, confronted acting governor Thomas Hutchinson and ranking army officer Lt. Col. William Dalrymple, demanding that they move the 29th and 14th Regiments from barracks in the center of town off to Castle William.

The play will be staged in the Council Chamber of the Old State House, the same room (albeit expanded) where Hutchinson was meeting with the governor’s Council that morning when Adams and his committee arrived. Expect many references to the distraught crowd outside. The nominal issues will be who is to blame for the fatal violence the night before, whether the governor or colonel have the authority to move the troops, and whether moving one regiment would satisfy the populace. The underlying dispute is, of course, the parameters of self-government.

This is an ambitious project, many months in the making, which aims to provide a new model for how to interpret historic sites. The society’s webpage for the show calls it “History on Stage,” and says, “this pilot production will be an initial test case for what we hope becomes a city-wide effort in future years.” Given the Old State House’s role as the seat of Massachusetts government, it could host recreations of several dramatic episodes in future years.

(The photo above, courtesy of the Boston Globe, shows the cast in rehearsal without costumes in the Council chamber.)


Serena Zabin said...

I hope you're planning to go to one! It looks like they've released a few more seats; there are several days now with spaces left.

John L Smith Jr said...

It appears tickets are about as hard to get as to "Hamilton". But I'm happy about that and am glad people are interested!

J. L. Bell said...

Yes, this morning the society added a couple more performances. As of tonight, there are seats left on five evenings.