COUNTDOWN TO CENTENNIAL:
I. COLLABORATIONS III: A EUGENE O'NEILL CENTENNIAL FESTIVAL, 1987-1988.
Collaborations III is a Eugene O'Neill Centennial festival consisting of lectures on O'Neill, readings and performances of his plays, exhibits of O'Neilliana, a dance performance interpreting his work, and other events sponsored jointly by Connecticut College in New London and the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, directed by Connecticut College Professors Linda Herr (Theater) and Richard Moorton (Classics), administrated by Peggy Middleton, and funded by grants and gifts from the Connecticut Humanities Council, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Bowdenwein Foundation, the Thames Printing Co. of Norwich, Connecticut, and the New London Day. It is now possible to supplement the first brief notice of this Centennial celebration given in the Eugene O'Neill Newsletter (Spring 1987, p. 41) with a relatively complete calendar of events as it stands at this writing, though the many ancillary observances of the Centennial at local and regional educational institutions and other places to be coordinated with Collaborations III are too numerous to be listed here.
Collaborations III begins with a ribbon cutting in the Charles Shain Library on the Connecticut College campus at 4:00 p.m., Oct. 15, 1987, to open an O'Neill exhibit of first editions of O'Neill plays, copies of the plays autographed by O'Neill himself, O'Neill letters, playbills and pictures drawn from the collections of O'Neilliana at the Shain Library and the Monte Cristo Cottage in New London, which is also mounting a separate exhibition and will host a series of O'Neill readings during the Centennial year. On the evening of Oct. 15, the keynote lecture, "O'Neill's Sense of Tragedy," is to be given at 8:00 p.m. in Dana Hall on the Connecticut College campus by Richard Sewall, Professor Emeritus of English at Yale University. The lecture series will continue on Nov. 3, 1987, when Professor Kristin Pfefferkorn-Forbath of the Philosophy Department at Connecticut College speaks on "O'Neill and His Age" at the New London Library at 8:00 p.m. Two weeks later, on Nov. 11, the distinguished actress Geraldine Fitzgerald will lecture on "An Irish Electra: The Demons of Mary Tyrone" at 8:00 p.m. in Dana Hall (C.C.). On the three following evenings, Nov. 19, 20 and 21, the Connecticut College Theater Department production of Beyond The Horizon (with a New York guest director) will be presented at 8:00 p.m. in the Palmer Auditorium at Connecticut College.
The December calendar opens with a lecture by Professor Burton Cooper of the English Department at Boston University on "O'Neill and Film" to be delivered on Dec. 3 at 8:00 p.m. in Blaustein 210A at Connecticut College. On Dec. 17 and 18, at 7:45 p.m., the O'Neill Theater Center will host the National Theater Institute's production of The Count of Monte Cristo under the direction of Lynn Britt, Richard Digby Day and George White.
Professor Michael Burlingame of the Connecticut College History Department ushers in 1988 with a lecture on "O'Neill and Opera: An Analysis of Musical Settings of O'Neill Plays" to be delivered on Jan. 19 at a place and time to be announced. One week later, on Jan. 26, George White, President of the O'Neill Theater Center, will lecture at Connecticut College on "O'Neill in China" (room and time T.B.A.).
The February lecture calendar features two lectures by Connecticut College Professors of German examining O'Neill's considerable influence in Germany. On Feb. 4, Rita Terras will speak on "German Translations of O'Neill" at 8:00 p.m. in Blaustein 210A (C.C.), to be followed on Feb. 10 by Janis Solomon's lecture on "O'Neill and German Expressionism" at 8:00 p.m. in Blaustein 210A (C.C.).
On March 3, 4 and 5, the Connecticut College Theater Department will present a production of Desire Under The Elms, with a guest actor working with Connecticut College students, at 8:00 p.m. each evening in Palmer Auditorium at Connecticut College. In coordination with this production, David Hays, Adjunct Professor of Theater at Connecticut College. will give a talk about the set of the original Broadway production of Long Day's Journey Into Night, which he designed (time and place T.B.A.). Then. focusing on O'Neill's intense interest in social issues. Professor Jane Torrey of the Connecticut College Department of Psychology will deliver a talk entitled "O'Neill on Oppression" at 8:00 p.m. on March 9. in Blaustein 210A (C.C.)
On April 12. Professor Spencer Golub of the Department of Theater Arts at Brown University will speak on "The Aesthetics of Alienation: O'Neill and the Poetics of Modernist Strangeness" at 8:00 p.m. in BlausLein 210A (C.C.). During April the Connecticut College Dance Department will present a dance interpretation of O'Neill's Ancient Mariner with original choreography by Professor Martha Myers of the Connecticut College Department of Dance (time and place T.B.A.).
On May 10. Connecticut College Classics Professor Richard Moorton will speak on "Tragic Visions: O'Neill and the Greeks" (time and place T.B.A.).
The fall slate of activities will begin early with Professor Jordon Pecile of the Department of English at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy speaking on "O'Neill's Early Letters and the Sequel to Ah, Wilderness!" on Aug. 30. 1988, at 8:00 p.m. in Blaustein 210A (C.C.). Next, Lowell Swortzell. Professor of Educational Theater at N.Y.U.. will be featured in a talk entitled "'Get My Goat': O'Neill's Views of Children and Adolescents in His Plays and Life" on Sept. 13, 8:00 p.m. in Blaustein 210A (C.C.). Later in September, on the 27th, Roger Brown, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, will discuss "Psychological Causality and Responsibility as O'Neill Conceived Them" at 8:00 p.m. in Dana Hall (C.C.).
Sometime during the fall '88 program of Collaborations III, Bart Roccoberton, Director of the Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts at the O'Neill Theater Center. will produce The Emperor Jones with puppets (time and place T.B.A.).
The Collaborations III lecture series will conclude with two lectures in mid-October 1988. The first, on Oct. 11 by Jeffrey Sands, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will address the subject of "O'Neill's Productions During the 'Silent Years', 1934-1946" at 8:00 p.m. in Blaustein 210A (C.C.). The second, culminating lecture of Collaborations III will be delivered by O'Neill biographer Barbara Gelb. speaking on "O'Neill at 100" on Oct. 12, 1988 (date tentatively confirmed) at 8:00 p.m. in Dana Hall (C.C.). The grand finale of the New London celebration of the O'Neill Centennial will occur as George White dedicates a statue of O'Neill as a boy at the New London shore on October 16, 1988, the one-hundredth birthday of America's greatest playwright.
---Richard Moorton. Co-Director
and Chairman of the Lecture Series. Collaborations
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II. CENTENNIAL PRODUCTIONS PLANNED AT REGIONAL THEATRES.
In response to a letter from Fred Wilkins. President of the Eugene O'Neill Society. asking for information about plans and offering Society assistance in realizing and publicizing them, the following regional theatres have offered their ideas. firm or tenuous, for centennial-related performances. Fuller details, when available, will be printed, and the plans of other companies will be offered as soon as they are received. Readers, whether or not they are members of the Eugene O'Neill Society, may wish to contact theatres that express an interest in dramaturgical counsel, and theatres whose productions they may be able and willing to review for a future issue of the Newsletter.
* THE HARTFORD STAGE COMPANY, Mark Lamos, Artistic Director. 50 Church Street, Hartford, CT 06103. Tel. (203) 525-5601.
A new production of A Moon for the Misbegotten, directed by Jackson Phippin, is one of the six productions in the HSC's 1987-1988 season.
* THE NEW ROSE THEATRE (Portland's Classic Repertory Theatre), Michael Griggs, Artistic Director. 904 S.W. Main Street, Portland, OR 97205. Tel. (503) 222-2495.
Anna Christie or A Touch of the Poet will be the opening show of the NRT's 1988-1989 season. Mr. Griggs would welcome the assistance of any knowledgeable O'Neillian in the area, as he hopes to "create a special project" in connection with the production. He also brought Wilkins' letter to the attention of the fifteen-member Portland Area Theatre Alliance, which he serves as President, and offers positive results: "At least two others have expressed interest in full productions of O'Neill during their seasons--Storefront Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which hopes to open a Portland company in 1988-89. Other theatres are considering smaller-scale participation on October 16."
* ONE ACT THEATRE CO., Simon L. Levy, Artistic Director. 430 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. Tel. (415) 421-5355.
To celebrate the O'Neill Centennial, the OATC has commissioned its playwright-in-residence, Michael Lynch, to adapt O'Neill's short story "Tomorrow." In the new play, entitled Jimmy Tomorrow, Mr. Lynch (author of "San Joaquin Blues," "The Dead End Kid" and "Taco Jesus") "explores the early mind of O'Neill just before his emergence as one of the world's greatest dramatists. Real characters in the story double as characters from some of O'Neill's greatest plays." Previews on May 20, 21 and 24, 1988. Opens May 25; closes June 19. (Best to check in advance, as the season brochure lists later dates.)
* PLAYMAKERS REPERTORY COMPANY, Milly Barranger, Executive Producer, David Hammond, Artistic Director. The University of North Carolina, Graham Memorial Building 052-A, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel. (919) 962-1122.
PRC's "O'Neill Celebration," opening in January 1988, comprises a full mounting of the complete Mourning Becomes Electra, divided into two separate evenings: Part One on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday and Sunday matinees; Part Two on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. There will be a two-hour intermission between the two parts on Saturdays and Sundays. Previews January 26/27 and 28/29; opens January 30, last performance of Part Two on February 28. Direction by Mr. Hammond, with set and costume design by Bill Clarke.
* DENVER CENTER THEATRE COMPANY, 1245 Champa, Denver, CO 80204. Tel. (303) 893-4100.
A new production of Long Day's Journey Into Night will be performed from January 8 to February 12, 1988, following previews on January 4-7.
* THE BERKSHIRE PUBLIC THEATRE, Frank Bessell, Artistic Director. 30 Union Street, P.O. Box 860, Pittsfield, MA 01202. Tel. (413) 445-4631.
The BPT is considering several O'Neill plays, from which it will choose one as a centennial production, with a performance possible on the actual centennial date of Sunday, October 16, 1988. Anna Christie, The Emperor Jones, Marco Millions and The Great God Brown are the contenders--with the nod, if casting and other considerations are favorable, probably going to Brown. (A future issue will include the winner and performance dates.) Mr. Bessell is also pursuing the possibilities of filming two of O'Neill's plays, Mourning Becomes Electra (on location in New England) and Beyond the Horizon--but those are longer-term projects that will extend well beyond the centenary celebrations.
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III. PLAYS AND PROGRAMS IN UTAH, reported by Charles Metten of Brigham Young University.
* Long Day's Journey Into Night and Ah, Wilderness! Act I in reader's theatre format, with the same actors playing James/Nat, Mary/Essie, Jamie/Uncle Sid, and Richard/Edmund. Directed by Charles Metten, at the Maeser Building Theatre, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, at 7:30 p.m. on November 19-21, 1987. The event, part of the BYU Honors Program, is open to the public.
* "Eugene O'Neill on Film": screenings of the major plays on film throughout the 1987-1988 academic year. Organized by Don Marshall, Humanities Department, Brigham Young University. Open to the public.
Mourning Becomes Electra, a fully staged production directed by
Charles Metten. Margetts Arena Theatre, Brigham Young University,
October-November, 1988. Open to the public.
* Anna Christie, directed by Sandra Shotwell. Babcock Theatre, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, October 8-17, 1987.
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IV. E.G.O. ON P.B.S.
The Public Broadcasting System will devote three programs on its Monday-evening "American Playhouse" series to O'Neill in 1988, in honor of the playwright's centennial. The AP season will open in January with a reprise of the London-and-Broadway Strange Interlude starring Glenda Jackson. Later Mondays will feature Jack Lennon in Long Day's Journey Into Night, and a biographical drama featuring Matthew Modine as the young O'Neill.
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