Moondown (1915)

Moondown production photo

Ethel Howard as Sylvia and Josephine Meyer as Mame in the 1915 Washington Square Players’ production of John Reed’s Moondown. It was directed by Edward Goodman.




















Two women contemplate their futures as working women (in both senses of the word) in John Reed’s one-act play Moondown.  Originally published in The Masses in 1913, along with John Sloan’s sketch of Women’s Night Court–where prostitutes were arraigned–Moondown conveys the difficulty for working-class women to make ends meet and how sex work on the side is sometimes the only option.  While not Reed’s best written piece, this one-act is nonetheless unusual for its biting honesty about how women are used, even by writers as source material for their work.  It also quite unusually features two women discussing their futures, rather than having men deciding for them.  While Reed was one of the original Provincetown Players, his play was nonetheless produced by a competing Art Theatre, the Washington Square Players, in 1915. Above, we see a rare photograph of the actresses.


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