United States of Paris

parisThe 1820’s and 1830’s saw the first generation of Americans to travel to Paris not as
diplomats or tourists, but as students, artists, and writers. Few people had the
resources or opportunity to make the journey, and ocean travel was often
dangerous, but for those who were lucky enough to see the Old World, it was the….

1.“Dream of a lifetime” (CONOR, ZACHARY, DERRICK, LYDIA)  Lydia Upton, a well-known educator and author; Conor Jameson, a reporter on assignment for the New York “Observer”; Derrick Wallace, a wealthy art student from Philadephia; and Zachary Bell, a medical student and son of a country doctor, all are on a packet ship bound for France in early 1833. We first hear from Conor, then Zachary. Soon the group arrives in France, briefly visits the Rouen Cathedral, and finally arrives in Paris. 1 - Dream of a lifetime

2. “I will speak English with you” (ELOIDE)  In the Louvre, Conor discovers a female art student named Éloide, who happily speaks English. He tries to interview her for the “Observer”, and she decides….2 - I Will Speak English With You

3.”Not What I Seem” (FARNHAM, LYDIA)  Lydia encounters a fellow American author, Farnham McIntyre, who is famous for his tales of the early American West (that is ,upstate New York and Appalachia). They immediately assure each other that they’re….3 - Not What I Seem

4. “You shouldn’t fall in love in Paris” (DERRICK, CONOR, ZACHARY)   All the Americans meet at a local café where they witness the latest rage – the Can-can. At the time it was often danced by men as well as women, and concentrated more on making noise than following prescribed steps. Zachary is smitten there by a waitress, Renée, and everyone has rather too good a time. Back at the hotel Zachary and Conor are tipsily praising their new girlfriends, when Derrick soberly warns them…..4 - You shouldn't fall in love in Paris

5. “You know more than I” (CONOR) Conor is sitting for a portrait painted by Éloide, and she advises him on the import of what he sees in Paris – especially the presence of black students at the medical schools.  He grudgingly admits that5 - You know more than I
6. “My only son” (ZACHARY)              “Zachary learns that Renée is a grisette – a euphemism for a kept woman – who is currently between men. Zachary would like to be her “next man” even though he has letters from home – one each from his mother, father, and pastor – who explicitly warn him against the temptations of the flesh.6 - My only son
7. “I didn’t come here to paint” (DERRICK) Derrick has befriended several art students, and has joined in their political crusade. The tragedies of the previous year (the subject of “Les Misérables”, although that book was written much later) are still fresh in their minds. Derrick shares their outrage, and decides….7 -I didn't come here to paint
8. “I want to Marry” (FARNHAM) Lydia learns that Farnham is a widower, and suggests that there must be many women who are interested in marrying him. He acknowledges the fact, with a slight twist.8 - I want to marry

9. “I don’t know what you mean” (RENÉE)  Zachary proposes to Renée, and vows to take her back to America where he will love her “forever”. She doesn’t want to travel to a foreign country, however, and she is sure that his strict Boston family would reject a woman with her background. So she  tells Zachary…..9 - I don't know what you mean
10. “The sky didn’t fall” (LYDIA) Farnham and Lydia spontaneously admit that they are attracted to each other. For Lydia this is especially disturbing, but she puts things into perspective as she realizes….10 - The sky didn't fall
11. “Take me with you” (ELOIDE)  Eloide wants to join Conor on his voyage back to America, whatever the cost. 11 - Take me with you
12. “I will not be afraid”  All the characters confront an uncertain future. First Zachary sings to Renee, then Eloide to Conor, then Farnham to Lydia, then all together, and to the audience, and to whatever changes the rest of the nineteenth century will bring. 12 - I will not be afraid


CONOR JAMESON – Bronson Norris Murphy

ZACHARY BELL – Michael Deleget

DERRICK WALLACE – Michael Marcotte

LYDIA UPTON – Mary Jo McConnell

ÉLOIDE PAQUET – Lucy Horton, Alessa Neeck

FARNHAM MCINTYRE – David Anderson, Wilson Bridges

RENÉE LEMAIRE – Danette Holden

Scroll to the Top!