Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Tag: Eugene O’Neill

Review | (A Very) Long Day’s Journey Into Night | by Eugene O’Neill | Roundabout Theatre Company

… very long day’s journey …

Long Day’s Journey Into Night has a particular importance and glamour as an autobiographical work by one of America’s greatest playwrights, with the Tyrone family in the play being drawn from Eugene O’Neill’s memories of his own family.  While often called a masterpiece, Long Day’s Journey is a wordy and repetitive play.  For the psychological infighting, love-hate interactions and deceptions to remain compelling for the play’s 3 ¾ hours running time, it needs great actors with psychological depth.  Jessica Lange is effective as the mother but the three male actors are disappointing.

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Review | The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill | Directed by Robert Falls | Starring Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy | Goodman Theatre Production | BAM

… too much truth …

The Iceman Cometh is a great play that anyone interested in theater and literature should have the chance to know. It’s a true classic.

It’s a play about a bunch of “bums” – what daring to write on all counts! Sixteen alcoholics, have-beens and never-will-be’s hang out around Harry Hope’s bar, drowning their disappointments in booze while holding hope – and bolstering each others’ hopes — for a better tomorrow.

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Review | A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill | Directed by J. R. Sullivan | Pearl Theatre Company

A Moon for the Misbegotten is a tense, character driven play that demands  great acting and this excellent production provides it:  Kim Martin-Cotton is as fine an actress as I’ve seen anywhere and she makes the role of the tough-on-the-outside farm girl, Josie Hogan, come alive.

The play, written in 1943, takes us back to a 1923 farmhouse.  Like O’Neill’s earlier play, Beyond the Horizon, currently Irish Repertory Theater, this, too, is about trying to hold on to the farm.  Josie and her father Phil Hogan, are tenant farmers, and their landlord, James Tyrone, Jr., is a local boy who made it in the big city as an actor, and whose self-weary, drunken lack of self-respect leads him to mock his own success.  Josie’s in love with Tyrone, but hides it behind a cynical, sluttish affect.  He claims, in an affected, stentorian way, to love her, but she doesn’t believe a word, comparing her big farm girl self to the dainty women she figures he knows in the city.

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Review | Beyond the Horizon by Eugene O’Neill | Directed by Ciaran O’Reilly | Irish Repertory Theatre

While watching Beyond the Horizon, I was often gripped by the strong conflicts in individual scenes.  Yet, the play came across as less than the sum of the parts.

O’Neill won the Pulitzer Prize in 1920 for this, his first full-length play (what a personal thrill that must have been!).  The focus on a low class family — farmers brought to struggle to hold on to the farm — the use of American vernacular, and the laying bare of brutal competition within what seems on the surface a wholesome American farm family must have been electrifying at the time.   Without these issues of innovation, today the play has less going for it.

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Review | Early Plays, Based on Eugene O’Neill’s Glencairn Plays | Adapted and Directed by Richard Maxwell | Wooster Group / New York City Players

The three early one-act plays by O’Neill are moving and naturalistic, not melodramatic as I’ve seen them called elsewhere.  In order to find this out, though, one has to look through this production’s useless, arbitrary stylization which has the characters speaking with emotional emphasis but deadpan rhythms.  Still, if one sticks it out, one gets a good sense of the atmosphere and feeling of being part of a crew for a merchant ship in the early 20th Century.

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