NEWS, NOTES AND QUERIES
1. O'NEILL ACTIVITIES IN CHINA. In a letter of 20 May, Haiping Liu reported on a recent meeting of O'Neill scholars in China:
Heady news that will be of exciting interest to O'Neillians everywhere. Since it is a goal of the current Eugene O'Neill Society to continue gaining world-wide membership, its officers and members will surely salute the Chinese venture and hope for close ties with any official organization that may result from the pioneering April meeting. Further developments will be reported as they are received.
Professor Liu has also been invited by a Chinese publishing house to edit a book ("all in Chinese, of course") to be entitled "Eugene O'Neill on Drama." "The main body will be O'Neill's ideas on drama, playwriting and his own works. An appendix will provide plot synopses of his major works." Among the sources he is currently using are the "Credo" section of Cargill's O'Neill and His Plays and the Bryer-Bogard collection of O'Neill's letters to Kenneth Macgowan. Anyone with additional source materials to suggest can reach Professor Liu at the Department of Foreign Languages, Nanjing University, Nanjing, People's Republic of China. He will be most grateful for any leads, and will be able to thank contributors personally at the 1986 O'Neill conference in Boston, which he plans to attend. --Ed.
2. MOON AROUSES FRENCH INTEREST IN O'NEILL. The January 1984 production of A Moon for the Misbegotten at the Maison des Arts André Malraux in Paris, performed by the Compagnie Laurence Février and directed by Ms. Février, was a considerable success. On page 53 are a rehearsal shot of André Chaumeau (Phil Hogan) and Sylvie Herbert (Josie) and the production's poster, designed by Michel Bouvet, which loses much in a black and white reduction. (Attenders of the 1986 conference can see it as it should be seen.) Associate Francoise du Chaxel writes of the production: "Moon was a great success and offered many people the opportunity to discover Eugene O'Neill; they were then eager to know more about him, his life and his works. Long Day's Journey Into Night was produced in Paris too, in an excellent production that was very well received. Audiences were deeply touched by these two plays. I hope it will be the sign of an O'Neill revival in a country where he has never really been recognized as a chief dramatist." Ms. Février plans to follow her successful Moon with a production of Desire Under the Elms.
3. AUTHOR'S INQUIRY (reprinted from the Irish Literary Supplement, Spring 1985, p. 22). Professor Edward L. Shaughnessy (Butler University, Indianapolis, IN 46208) is writing a history of the reception of Eugene O'Neill's plays in Ireland: a record of productions in both the Republic and the North; the academic assessment of O'Neill's work; and the popular response as registered in press reviews. "I have spent two summers in Ireland," [he writes,] and hope to return this spring. I have put together a fairly thorough record of productions in Dublin (Abbey, Gate, etc.), in Galway (Taibdhdearc Theatre), and in Belfast (Lyric Players Theatre) since 1922. I would be pleased to receive information about other cities where professional productions of O'Neill's plays have been staged. If readers should possess old reviews, programs or other memorabilia, I would consider it a great favor to be permitted to look at them."
4. AMERICAN DRAMA SESSION AT ATA '85. At the 1985 convention of the American Theatre Association in Toronto this August, Paul Voelker will chair a second edition of his highly successful 1984 session on "What Is American about the American Drama?" This year's subtitle is, "The Dialogue Continues: American and Canadian Perspectives on the Nineteenth Century." The session, which will take place from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 6, in the York Room of the Sheraton Centre, will feature three presentations:
5. NEMLA '85. Jackson R. Bryer chaired the session on "O'Neill for the Scholar and for the Public" at the 1985 convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association in Hartford, CT, last March 29th. Donald Gallup, former Curator of the Yale Collection of American Literature, spoke on "The Eugene O'Neill Collection at Yale," followed by a panel discussion on O'Neill activities that featured Sally Pavetti, Curator of the Monte Cristo Cottage, Frederick C. Wilkins, editor of the Eugene O'Neill Newsletter, Jordan Y. Miller, Secretary of the Eugene O'Neill Society, and Megan Callaway, co-producer (with Perry Miller Adato) of the PBS documentary on O'Neill that will air this fall. The general impression gained from the session was that O'Neill activity has never been as rich and varied as it is at present; and the editor is pleased to announce that Dr. Gallup's paper will be printed, in a fuller version, in the next issue of the Newsletter. As all who heard it in Hartford will attest, it is a most moving and informative document.
6. NEMLA '86: CALL FOR PAPERS. "O'Neill's Women: Biography as Theatre" is the topic for the Eugene O'Neill session at the 1986 convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association, which will be held from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. on Friday, April 4, at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Session chair Ellen Kimbel of Pennsylvania State University, Abington, invites all who are interested in participating to send papers to her as soon as possible. (An abstract or statement of intent will suffice, for the present, if a paper is currently incomplete.) Send either to Professor Kimbel at 244 Meeting House Lane, Merion, PA 19066. (Tel. 215-664-4112.)
7. RECENT PUBLICATIONS--AND EARLIER ONES NOT PREVIOUSLY NOTED.
Abe, Hiroshe. "Eugene O'Neill." In Ogata, Toshihiko, ed., America Bungaku no Jikotenkai 20-seiki no America Bungaku II (Kyoto: Yamaguchi, 1982), pp. 205-239.
Badino, Margareth M. S. "The Self Destructiveness of an Idealist: A Study of Mary Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night." Estudos Anglo-Americanos (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 5-6 (1981-1982), 118-136.
Barlow, Judith E. Final Acts: The Creation of Three Late O'Neill Plays. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985. [The plays are Iceman, Journey, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. A review will appear in a future issue.]
Chatterji, Ruby. ""Existential Approach to Modern American Drama." In her Existentialism in American Literature (Atlantic Highland, NJ: Humanities Press, 1983), pp. 80-98. [Includes coverage of O'Neill, Miller and Albee.]
Gilmore, Thomas B. The Iceman Cometh and the Anatomy of Alcoholism." Comparative Drama, 18:4 (Winter 1984-85), 118-136.
Grimm, Reinhold. "The Hidden Heritage: Repercussions of Nietzsche in Modern Theater and Its Theory." Nietzsche Studien: Internationales Jahrbuch für die Nietzsche-Forschung, 12 (1983), 355-371. [Includes Nietzsche's influence on Shaw and O'Neill.]
Raleigh, John Henry. "Strindberg in Andrew Jackson's America: O'Neill's More Stately Mansions." CLIO: A Journal of Literature, History and the Philosophy of History, 13:1 (Fall 1983), 1-15.
Roberts, Nancy L. "The Cottage with a Glimpse of Eugene O'Neill." Boston Sunday Globe (May 5, 1985), pp. B25-26. [Report of a tour of the "remarkably well kept" Monte Cristo Cottage, and of the house's, town's and family's ubiquitousness in O'Neill's works, architecturally (Mourning Becomes Electra) and arboreally (Desire Under the Elms) as well as biographically.
Seidel, Margot. "Goethes Faust und O'Neill." Archiv für das Studium der Neueren Sprachen und Literaturen, 219:2 (1982), 365-372.
Shipley, Joseph T. The Crown Guide to the World's Great Plays from Ancient to Modern Times, revised, updated edition, New York: Crown Publishers, 1984. xiii + 866 pp. $24.95, cloth. ISBN 0-517-55392-9, This second edition of the 1956 volume, comprising "750 play plots, performances, casts, analyses and critical opinions," includes entries on twelve O'Neill plays, from Beyond the Horizon to More Stately Mansions (pp. 455-473). An excellent blend of synopses, production history and quotations from the often-divided critics.
Shurr, William H. "American Drama and the Bible: The Case of Eugene O'Neill's Lazarus Laughed." In Gunn, Giles, ed., The Bible and American Arts and Letters (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983; Chico, CA: Scholars, 1983), pp. 83-103.
Smith, Madeline. "The Emperor Jones and Confession." Bulletin of the West Virginia Association of College English Teachers (Huntington, WV), 8 (1983), 17-22.
Smith, Susan Harris. Masks in Modern Drama. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1984. xi + 237 pp. $27, cloth. ISBN 0-520-05095-9. (To be reviewed in the next issue.)
8. CARPENTER BIBLIOGRAPHY PUBLISHED. The eagerly awaited Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism 1966-1980: An International Bibliography, edited by Charles A. Carpenter, has just been published by the University of Toronto Press ($75, cloth, ISBN 0-8020-2549-8). (See page 33 of the Summer-Fall 1984 issue for some details about its massive contents and the American playwrights most represented.) This "first authoritative bibliography of modern western drama" will be updated annually in Modern Drama, which Professor Carpenter serves as Bibliography Editor. For a copy, add $2 for postage and handling and write to Manager, Direct Mail Marketing, University of Toronto Press, 63A St. George Street, Toronto, Canada M5S 1A6.
9. Robert E. Lauder, "The Renegade Haunted by God: Eugene O'Neill's Dream of Forgiveness," Commonweal (December 14, 1984), pp. 690-692.
Responding to the 1984 production of A Moon for the Misbegotten, "one of the most 'Catholic' plays to appear on Broadway in years," Lauder muses on "the 'Catholic' dimension in O'Neill's plays," suggesting that "neither too little nor too much" should be made of it. Citing comments by Croswell Bowen and Louis Sheaffer and some telling remarks by O'Neill himself, Lauder reviews the 13-year-old O'Neill's break with the Catholic Church, and notes that the separation was never total--as it never is for a "Black Irishman." (And O'Neill, according to Bowen, was, of Irish-American writers, "the blackest of all.") Witness the "Catholic symbols" in Misbegotten and the "wish fulfillment" of the hero's final return to his Catholic faith in Days Without End. O'Neill, says Lauder, never lost his interest in "ultimate questions" and never allowed belief in determinism (despite its emphasis in the views of Mary and Jamie Tyrone, et al.) to overrule completely his belief in the human potential for freedom--if not salvation, at least spiritual victory. [The drawing above, which accompanied Lauder's article, is attributed to "Lupas, Stage, 1935." -Ed.]
10 EUGENE, GLENDA AND THE CRITICS. I'd hoped to sum up the critical reactions to the Broadway revival of Strange Interlude, but the sheer bulk of critical response proved overwhelming. As ever, the reviewers were sharply divided, as titles alone can indicate: everything from "Interminable Interlude" (John Simon in New York, March 4, p. 110) to "Thank You, Glenda, Thank You" (Douglas Watt in the Daily News). Perhaps the nastiest rebuke, topping even the acerbic Mr. Simon, came from Kevin Kelly in the Boston Globe (February 22, p. 21): "It's 'Dynasty' with a mental block." And the fairest, most informative assessment was provided by Frank Rich in the New York Times ("A Fresh Look for O'Neill's 'Interlude,'" February 22, p. C3). But the best journalistic reportage pre-ceded the New York opening: a pair of background articles in Section II of the Times on Sunday, February 14: Barbara Gelb's "Strange Interlude Returns to Broadway" (pp. 1 and 24), and Benedict Nightingale's "Glenda Jackson Grapples with O'Neill's Everywoman" (pp. 1 and 6). Deeper than the paeans and put-downs of subsequent reviewers, they deserve the attention of all serious O'Neillians. --Ed.
11. DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS. The following were listed in issues of Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI). Copies may be obtained from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 (tel. 1-800-521-3042).
Bloom, Steven F. "Empty Bottles, Empty Dreams: O'Neill's Alcoholic Drama." DAI, 43:4 (1982), 1145A-1146A.
Como, Robert M. "The Evolution of O'Neill's Tragic Vision." [Sources in Nietzsche.] DAI, 43:9 (1983), 2990A.
Herzog, Callie J. "Nora's Sisters: Female Characters in the Plays of Ibsen, Strindberg, Shaw and O'Neill." DAI, 43:9 (1983), 2988A.
Schroeder, Patricia R. "The Presence of the Past in Modern American Drama." DAI, 45:5 (1984), 1400A.
Shea, Laura. "Child's Play: The Family of Violence in the Dramas of O'Neill, Albee and Shepard." DAI, 44:11 (1984), 3384A.
Sproxton, Birk E. "Subversive Sexuality in Four Eugene O'Neill Plays of His Middle Period." DAI, 44:1 (1983), 171A.
Szabo, K. "O'Neill tragediafelfogasa a kortarsi elmeletek tukreben." [Concerns O'Neill's theory of tragedy.] DAI, 43:3 (1982), 2978C.
12. CALL FOR PAPERS ON ROBINSON JEFFERS. American Poetry is planning a special issue on Robinson Jeffers for Fall 1987. Critical essays, notes, and documents of 25 pages or less are welcome. Send copies of completed manuscripts to Tim Hunt, 22927 SE 287th, Kent, WA 98042, and Jeffers Issue, American Poetry, English Department, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, no later than November 1, 1986.
13. A NOTE TO CONTRIBUTORS. No (to answer a reader's query), the Newsletter does not solicit articles. Only for the special issue on "O'Neill's Women" (Summer-Fall 1982) was a general topic announced in advance. All the other "focus" sections, like the one in this issue, occurred by chance. There is no limit on the size, scope or subject matter of submissions. All that is requested is double-spaced typing--and some biographical information for the "Persons Represented" section, in case the submission is accepted. And I should add that (1) the new MLA documentation style is now in effect, and (2) a lengthy publishing record is not a prerequisite for acceptance. The Newsletter has featured work by new graduate students and directors as well as by the most prominent scholars in American drama. It's quality that counts, not pedigree.
As an indication of the variety of work that is currently being done on O'Neill (and a signal to the authors that their work has been received), here is a list of the essays currently undergoing examination and/or revision:
"The Fusion of the Epic and Dramatic: Hemingway, Strindberg and O'Neill," by Peter Egri.
"O'Neill's Hughie: The Necessity of Attempt," by Richard Grazide.
"Eugene O'Neill: America's National Playwright," by Michael Manheim.
"Parallelism and Divergence: The Case of She Stoops to Conquer and Long Day's Journey Into Night," by Bert Cardullo.
"Eugene O'Neill's Developing Form in Bound East for Cardiff (1914) and Hughie (1941)," by Marc Maufort.
"The Influence of Reymont's Peasants on O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms," by Michael Mikos and David Mulroy.
"Another View of Ephraim Cabot: A Footnote to Desire Under the Elms," by Jean Anne Waterstradt.
"A Cabin in the Woods, a Summerhouse in a Garden: Closure and Enclosure in O'Neill's More Stately Mansions," by Thomas P. Adler.
Some of the above will appear in the next issue, some require lengthier revision of text or documentation, and some (I confess) await a first reading. But all will get a fair hearing, and my only advice to other contributors is to choose a topic different from these eight! --Ed.
14. TAO HOUSE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. O'Neill might not have been delighted by strangers tramping through his contemplative California retreat--and he would surely have recoiled at the name of the company that is now taking them there--but a shrine is a shrine, and Tao House is a must on any list of major O'Neill sites. Under a contract with the National Park Service, a firm called Tours Are Us conducts two 90-minute tours of the house daily. Departures are at 11:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Information on prices and starting point is available from Tours Are Us, 145 John Glenn Drive, Concord, CA (tel. 415-674-0474).
15. TAO HOUSE GETS FRENZ COLLECTION. The Eugene O'Neill Foundation, Tao House, has announced that Horst Frenz, the renowned O'Neill scholar and first President of the O'Neill Society, and his wife, Evelyn, have generously donated their O'Neill library of more than 300 books and ten cartons of manuscripts, letters, reviews and other documents to the Foundation. An outstanding collection, and a boon to future scholars, it contains editions of O'Neill's plays translated into 22 foreign languages (including Oriental, Indian, Middle Eastern and Slavic), American and foreign first and unusual editions, and a wide variety of criticism and interpretation of O'Neill's plays.
16. PHOTOS OF VINTAGE O'NEILL PRODUCTIONS ON MICROFICHE. Several attenders of the March 1984 O'Neill conference, and a number of others who read about it, have asked the source of the photographs of 16 original O'Neill productions that were available for viewing on microfiche in the media room. The pictures, part of the Vandamm Collection in the New York Public Library's Library and Museum of the Performing Arts, have been published on 17 microfiche (a word whose plural is evidently unchanged, like that of its aquatic brethren microfish!) by Chadwyck-Healey Inc., 623 Martense Avenue, Teaneck, NJ 07666 (tel. 201-692-1801). [Inquiries from outside the U.S. should be sent to Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 20 Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8DT, England (tel. 0223 311479).] The O'Neill set's price is $85, and a catalog is available, listing all 900 stage productions included in the Vandamm Collection's 26,000 photographs of "New York Theatre, 1919-1961." Unfortunately the catalog does not detail the specific shots that are included, but many a March viewer will attest to their importance as a record of theatrical production in the United States.
17. RECENT AND FORTHCOMING O'NEILL PRODUCTIONS.
Ah, Wilderness!, dir. Douglas Jacobs. San Diego (CA) Repertory Theatre, Oct. 10 - Nov. 18, 1984. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Anna Christie, dir. Anthony Osnato. Seventh Sign Theatre Company, Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church, New York City. Closed on May 18, 1985.
Desire Under the Elms, dir. Mary K. Robinson. Hartford (CT) Stage Company, April 19 - May 19, 1985. [A replacement for the previously-announced production of Ah, Wilderness!, which was cancelled.]
The Hairy Ape, dir. Susan Perry. Strider Theater, Runnals Union, Colby College, Waterville, ME, February 7-9, 1985.
The Hairy Ape, dir. Blanka Zizka. 'Wilma Theater, Philadelphia. Closed on April 21, 1985. [Nels Nelson praised the production, if not the play, in the (Philadelphia) Daily News, calling Zizka's "Europeanizing" touches ("dynamic lighting, supple choreography, a creative use of giant cartoon cut-outs and eerily appropriate sound effects") an "instructive demonstration in how to dress an old turkey to the nines," and saluting the Yank of Harry Bennett, who "elicits a certain unity out of the bouillabaisse of slanguage that has fallen his lot."]
Long Day's Journey Into Night, dir. Sam Woodhouse. San Diego (CA) Repertory Theatre, Sept. 6 - Nov. 1, 1984. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Long Day's Journey Into Night, dir. Patrick Laffan, designed by Alfo O'Reilly, with Siobhan McKenna as Mary Tyrone. Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland. Opened on February 14, 1985. (More on this production in a future issue.)
Long Day's Journey Into Night, dir. Braham Murray. Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, England. Opened March 14, 1985. [Irene McManus (Plays and Players, May 1985, p. 31) found it "a strangely flat and underwhelming affair all round," from the minimal set by Johanna Bryant ("just a circular table, four chairs, and a couple of lamps to stare at for four hours") to inadequacies in the elder Tyrones--a loud but vacant James (James Maxwell) and a Mary (Dilys Hamlett) with whom "the audience loses patience." The other roles fared better: "Jonathan Hackett's earthily coarse Jamie, and Michael Mueller's slow, pallid, brylcreemed Edmund (a bit like an understudy for Vincent Price) are acceptable performances.")
Long Day's Journey Into Night. New Day Repertory Company, Vassar Institute Theater, New Paltz, NY, Aug. 22 - Sept. 8, 1985.
Strange Interlude, dir. Keith Hack. Nederlander Theatre, New York City, Feb. 21 - April 7, 1985. (Reviewed in this issue.)
18. TAKE ME ALONG DOESN'T "TAKE." A one-night stand was all that the Broadway revival of Take Me Along could muster: it closed after opening night at the Martin Beck Theatre (April 15), following a week of preview performances. Evidently a band of talented newcomers couldn't hold the charming adaptation of Ah, Wilderness! aloft as the combined forces of Walter Pidgeon, Jackie Gleason, Eileen Herlie, Una Merkel and Robert Morse had (for 448 performances) in 1959. Its long and successful tryout run at the Goodspeed Opera House had augured for a happier outcome, especially at a time when retreads tend to outlast new wares in the commercial theatre. Evidently, when ticket prices range from $22.50 to $40, stars are de rigueur. If the company's Johnson, Nichols and Grimes had been Van, Mike and Tammy, rather than Betty, Robert and Taryn, the show might still be running. As Albee's Martha would say, "Sad, sad, sad!"
19. NEW HAVEN JOURNEY CANCELLED. The Long Wharf Theatre production of Long Day's Journey Into Night, scheduled for March-April 1985, was removed from the season's repertory. Rumor has it that there was a problem in locating an appropriate actor to play James Tyrone. The cancellation was unfortunate, as the scheduled director (Arvin Brown) and actress (Geraldine Fitzgerald) struck gold in their previous (1971) collaboration on the play. We hope it will resurface during the Long Wharf's 1985-86 season.
20. JOURNEY MAY BE BROADWAY-BOUND, WITH ODD COUPLE. Long Day's Journey Into Night has not been performed on Broadway since the original U.S. production in 1956. Plans are now under way for a new production in the spring of 1986, presented by Emanuel Azenberg, Roger Peters and the Shubert Organization, with direction by Jonathan Miller. The elder O'Neills, it is reported, may be Jack Lemmon and Julie Harris.
21. NEW PLAYS INSPIRED BY O'NEILL.
A. THE MOBSTER COMETH. (Thanks to Eugene K. Hanson for the following report. --Ed.)
December saw the world premiere of a new play, Vespers Eve, by Louis La Russo II, at a small theatre in Hollywood. The play is about a meeting of the mob in 1929, for the purpose of planning the takeover of underworld activity across the nation. The ten mobsters and half dozen female "entertainers" they've brought with them spend a long evening talking of their plans, their past, their relationships.
Of interest here is not the play itself, but its indebtedness to Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. Vespers Eve is set in the bridal suite of a hotel, with much of the action occurring around a conference table. (One character, upon entering, comments how like the Last Supper the setting seems.) As the mobsters wander in, one and two at a time, they highlight the approach of the last gangster to enter, Lucky. He is the man with a plan, and spends the remainder of the play attempting to sell the others on his scheme. To better promote his ideas, he remains sober while the others indulge heavily in both liquor and women. Much of the play consists of discussions about Lucky's plan, with Lucky himself delivering several lengthy speeches. He is a dead ringer for Hickey.
While the girls are a higher class than the street walkers of Iceman, their place in society is essentially no different. And the relationship between the deep-thinking mobsters and the shallow prostitutes reflects a similar relationship occurring often in O'Neill. As Harry Hope presides over the doings at the bar, so Derek the waiter presides over the comings and goings of the mob members and their molls, seeing to all their needs.
O'Neill's men are today's derelicts; La Russo's are yesterday's, the sweepings of the streets of New York's Lower East Side. While the former cannot conquer their own fears--or the local street corner, for that matter--the latter dispel all their anxieties as they are about to conquer the world.
The opening of the final act finds Lucky and his sidekick Meyer talking, while all the others are out cold. When sufficiently sobered up again, the mobsters vote on Lucky's plan, approving the scheme to take over the gangland activities of a nation. Yet, there is a strange inconclusiveness at the end, with little more to show for the night's deliberations than resolution.
What La Russo has done with a rather obvious use of O'Neill is deserving of commendation. Obviously modeling his play on the structure of Iceman, he has nevertheless created a distinct and very successful drama. It is a fine play, well-crafted, fit to be a part of the American tradition of drama that stems from the works of O'Neill.
B. "HOTEL ELYSEE," by David H. Simpson, 40, directed by Stuart Bishop. Given four staged readings by the Provincetown Theatre Company at the Provincetown Art Association Museum in mid-January 1985, Simpson's "poetic" two-acter, his first play to be staged, was "inspired" by the death of Tennessee Williams in Manhattan's Hotel Elysee on the very day in 1983 when Simpson arrived in Provincetown, and was furthered by his re-collection that both O'Neill and Williams had written plays in Provincetown. The play's four characters (aside from a hotel waiter) are O'Neill, Williams, Blanche DuBois and Mary Tyrone, who meet in Provincetown and ponder "such dramatic subjects as death, hell, rebirth, paradise, and immortality in a poetic dialogue that transcends time constraints." (The words are Marilyn Miller's, in her advance report on the venture in the Provincetown Advocate, January 10, 1985, p. 4.) Should the play also transcend its initial medium, the film might be entitled, "Tom and Blanche and Gene and Mary"!
22. QUINTERO ON LONG DAY'S JOURNEY. On a weekend in mid-December 1984, Jose Quintero held a workshop at a Los Angeles theatre, the Taper Too. A group of actors--Mitchell Ryan, Salome Jens, Brian Kerwin, David Dukes and Rhonda Aldrich--read through Long Day's Journey Into Night before a packed house, largely of theatre professionals, with periodic breaks during which Quintero commented on the characters, the family, even gestures, and on his own experiences with the play and with O'Neill's widow, Carlotta. Lawrence Christon reported the event in the Los Angeles Times ("Quintero on 'Journey' with O'Neill," December 19, Part VI, pp. 1, 6, 7). Such details as Mary's touching of her hair and Edmund's repeated coughing are important, the director noted, because of their connection to a web of past associations. "Families," he said, "are built up of layer upon layer of complex fabric.... We read and understand great things in the most in-significant signs. Family life involves a private code everyone in the family under-stands." He also pointed out (in Christon's words) "how, in their bickering and hostility, Jamie and James Tyrone spoke the greatest--if veiled--truths about what everyone was feeling." Besides discussing the interrelations of the four family members, Quintero defended O'Neill's purposeful redundancy:
The brief article, like his autobiography, If You Don't Dance They Beat You, attests to the qualities that have made Quintero the preeminent director of O'Neill's plays. --Ed.
23. MENU OF O'NEILL HOLDS THE MAYO. Enid Nemy reported in the New York Times ("O'Neill Performed for Mayo Doctors," April 15, p. C15) on a performance for physicians, residents and personnel of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, of selected scenes from Long Day's Journey Into Night. The scenes were those "dealing with the narcotic addiction of Mary Tyrone ... and the reactions of her family," and the performers were Jason Robards, his son, Sam Robards, Teresa Wright and Margaret Hunt. The program was a part of the "Insight" series sponsored by the Mayo's Department of Psychiatry and Psychology--a series that Mr. Robards inaugurated four years ago, "dramatizing the problems of alcoholism by reading the monologue from O'Neill's Iceman Cometh." According to Mary Adams Martin, director of the series, its goal is to "give insight into the common human problems that are a great part of every physician's practice but a small part of his or her education." A worthy goal, and a well chosen vehicle for "insight." The program was repeated in May at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Dallas.
24. A PASTORAL POSTLUDE. Thanks to Jordan Miller for forwarding the following anecdote he received from Norman Philbrick, Director of the Philbrick Library in Los Altos Hills, CA. It should be of interest to O'Neill aficionados.
A number of years ago the late Hazel Hansen, Professor of Classics at Stanford University, told me of an experience she'd had as a young Greek scholar on a holiday in Greece. She was working to perfect her Greek conversation, and in order to speak directly to the country people she wandered in the hills and came upon a scene which delighted her. She was near a hill where, under a tree, sat a bearded Greek shepherd with his flute, his flock nearby. She engaged the shepherd in conversation and was pleased that she could converse so well in Greek with this ancient.
Suddenly, in the midst of the conversation, the old man said in English, "What's with Skeezix?" Professor Hansen was startled, thinking she was hearing a new Greek word. "What?" said she. The shepherd replied in English, "You know, Gasoline Alley--Skeezix--the comic strip." Miss Hansen was exceedingly curious. "How do you know about Skeezix and Gasoline Alley?" she asked. "Oh," said the shepherd, "I'm an expatriate. I was, or am, George Cram Cook of the Provincetown Players."
Sic transit gloria mundi!
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