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Editor: Frederick Wilkins
Suffolk University, Boston

Vol. XII, No. 1
Spring, 1988


(IN THIS ISSUE)

NEWS AND COMMENT

1 THE YOUNG O'NEILL IN TV FILM. Public Television's "American Playhouse" series
featured a one-hour drama about O'Neill's youth on April 6, 1988. Entitled "Journey Into Genius," it was written by Lanie Robertson and produced and directed by Calvin Skaggs. Framed by O'Neill's vigil at the deathbed of his actor-father in 1920, when the 32-year-old playwright had just won a Pulitzer Prize for Beyond the Horizon, the film recounts via flashbacks the key events in his life prior to his emergence as a Broadway dramatist. Eschewing the realistic treatment common to such television fare, Skaggs and Robertson permit their characters periodically to address the audience directly, and they add to the aura of verisimilitude by offering vintage-seeming black and white vignettes amid the handsome color of the whole. Matthew Modine was both likable and believable as O'Neill, though some critics, mistaking irony for earnestness, accused the character of smugness when, for instance, he says to the camera, "One must have chaos within oneself to give birth to a dancing star. --Nietzsche." The only anachronism this viewer sensed in a film otherwise true to its period and characters was in the role of George Pierce Baker, whose "rapping" with his students smacked more of 1988 than of 1914. Otherwise, the film was a thorough success and merits more performances. No O'Neillian should miss it. --Ed.

2. 'NEATH SOVIET ELUMS. Mark Lamos, 42-year-old artistic director of the Hartford (CT) Stage Company, became the first American ever to direct an American play in the Soviet Union with this spring's production of Lubov pod Viasami (Desire Under the Elms) at Moscow's Pushkin Theatre. The play is a standard in Russian repertory (it was, in 1926, the first American play staged at the Pushkin Theatre); but Lamos, working through interpreters, co-created a less lyrical-poetic and more rough-colloquial version than had been traditional in Russian translations. The play received a standing ovation on opening night, and will stay in the Pushkin repertory for from 2% to 6 years.

3. THE YEAR OF THE GENE. Haiping Liu, Professor at Nanjing University and Secretary for the Orient of the Eugene O'Neill Society, has put together, for the Nanjing O'Neill conference in June, as impressive a centennial celebration as will be held anywhere in the world. Participants from the U.S., Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Japan and Hong Kong will ,loin forty participants from almost all the major universities and drama institutes in the People's Republic of China. In addition to paper sessions and an international book exhibit, the highlight of the symposium, entitled "Eugene O'Neill--World Dramatist," will be a massive O'Neill Theatre Festival featuring as many as ten major productions. Among them: Marco Millions by the Shanghai People's Art Theatre, Mourning Becomes Electra by the Fudan Drama Group, Hughie and The Great God Brown (or Beyond the Horizon) by the Shanghai Youth Theatre, Beatrice Laufer's operatic setting of Ile by the Shanghai Opera Company, and two Nanjing productions--The Emperor Jones (in a pantomime, dance and song version) and Strange Interlude (in traditional Chinese opera form). Beijing will be represented by productions of Before Breakfast (in English) and (if funds permit) Long Day's Journey Into Night. Our congratulations to Professor Liu on his spectacular achievement, which will be reported on in full in a future issue.

4. COLLABORATIONS III, the centennial series in New London co-sponsored by the O'Neill Theater Center, Monte Cristo Cottage and Connecticut College, will sponsor a number of lectures this summer and fall, including "O'Neill and His Age" by CC philosophy professor Kristin Pfefferkorn-Forbath on August 30; "Get My Goat: O'Neill's Views of Children and Adolescents in His Plays and Life" by New York University professor Lowell Swortzell on September 13; "Psychological Causality and Responsibility as O'Neill Conceived Them" by Harvard psychology professor Roger Brown on September 27; "O'Neill Productions During the 'Silent Years', 1934-1946" by Jeffrey Sands, doctoral candidate at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on October 11; and "O'Neill at 100" by O'Neill biographer Barbara Gelb on October 12. Also featured will be a photo exhibit, "The Face of Genius: Images of Eugene O'Neill." on loan from the Museum of the City of New York, opening at the Lyman Allyn Museum of Connecticut College on October 2; and a gala centennial weekend culminating on Sunday, October 16, with the unveiling of a statue of the young O'Neill in New London harbor. For full details, write to the Monte Cristo Cottage, 325 Pequot Avenue, New London, CT 06320. Tel. (203) 443-0051. Collaborations III's activities have been made possible in part by grants from the Connecticut Humanities Council and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

5. O'NEILL ON STAGE. A program entitled "A Biographical Portrait of Eugene O'Neill by Himself and His Friends" was presented by the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT, on April 14 and 15, 1988.

6. O'NEILL BRUNCH AT ATCA CONVENTION. The American Theater Critics Association, meeting last February for its annual mini-convention in New York City, dedicated its traditional Sunday brunch to Eugene O'Neill. Guest speakers were George C. White, President of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT; Margaret Loftus Ranald, author of The Eugene O'Neill Companion; and Lois Erickson McDonald, Assistant Curator of the Monte Cristo Cottage in New London. The lively discussion touched on productions, restorations of the O'Neill residences in New London and California, Caspar Neher sketches for O'Neill sets which are available only in Vienna, a letter from O'Neill to Arthur Miller, and an envisioned sculpture exchange. The O'Neill Theater Center, which has commissioned a bronze sculpture of the young O'Neill that will be unveiled in the New London harbor on O'Neill's 100th birthday (Sunday, October 16, at 1:00 p.m.), hopes to exchange copies of the sculpture with Sweden and Russia for copies, respectively, of statues of Strindberg and Chekhov.

7. O'NEILL AT ACA '88. Two papers on O'Neill were presented at separate "sea literature" sessions at the Tenth Annual Meeting of the American Culture Association in New Orleans on March 23. At a 9 a.m. session, Bert Bender, Professor of English at Arizona State University in Tempe, traced the connection "From Two Years Before the Mast to The Hairy Ape"; and at a 3:30 p.m. session, John Antush, English chair at Fordham University, spoke on "Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie."

8. CENTENNIAL SYMPOSIUM IN GERMANY. Professor Ulrich Halfmann is planning, on behalf of the German Society,for American Studies (Deutsche Gesellschaft far Amerikastudien), a two-day symposium on O'Neill that will take place on 6-7 November at the University of Mannheim. More information will appear later, but interested persons can contact Professor Halfmann at Universität Mannheim, Anglistik III, Schloss, D 6800 Mannheim 1, Federal Republic of Germany.

9. O'NEILL AT ASTR '88. There will be a special centennial session on O'Neill at the 1988 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Theatre Research, to be held at the Columbus campus of Ohio State University on November 10-13.

10. O'NEILL SESSION AT MLA '88. Frederick C. Wilkins has announced the authors and titles of papers to be delivered at the O'Neill centennial session during the 1988 Modern Language Association Convention in New Orleans next December. The session, entitled "Eugene O'Neill at 100: Respects and Retrospects," will feature four presentations:

* "O'Neill's Shakespeare," by Normand Berlin, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst;

* "The Playwright as Lord of Touraine: O'Neill and French Civilization," by Marc Maufort, Univ. of Brussels;

* "O'Neill: A Tragedian for all Seasons," by Martha Bower, Univ. of New Hampshire; and

* "'The Right Kind of Pity': O'Neill's Gift to American Drama." by Michael Hinden, Univ. of Wisconsin. Madison.

If the MLA complies with the Eugene O'Neill Society's request, the session will be followed by a cash bar, permitting the celebrants to toast O'Neill and one another.

11. CALL FOR PAPERS, I. The Mid-Hudson MLA Conference, to be held at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. NY on 28-29 November 1988, will feature a session on Modern Drama directed by John V. Antush. Papers on any aspect of modern drama are welcomed by Professor Antush, English Department, Fordham University, Bronx, NY 10458. The deadline for finished papers and 100-word abstracts Is 15 July.

12. CALL FOR PAPERS, II. Steven F. Bloom will direct the O'Neill session at the 1989 convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association in Wilmington, Delaware, next March. The session title is "Heirs Apparent and Inapparent: O'Neill's Influence and Legacy," and Professor Bloom welcomes proposals and papers on O'Neill's influence on the work of other dramatists. Send papers or detailed abstracts to him at the English Department, Emmanuel College, 400 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115. The deadline for submissions is 15 September.

13. RECENT AND FORTHCOMING PRODUCTIONS.

Ah, Wilderness!, dir. Arvin Brown, with Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhust as the parents, and George Hearn and Elizabeth Wilson as the in-laws. Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street, New York City. Opens on June 8 for an extended run in repertory with Long Day's Journey Into Night. Tel. (212) 757-8646.

Anna Christie. Horse Cave Theatre, Horse Cave, KY. In repertory, July 15 - August 28, 1988. For specific dates write to Box 215, Horse Cave, KY 42749-0215. Tel. (502) 786-1200.

Anna Christie. Dramateurs, School and Moraga Way, Lafayette, CA, September 30 -November 5, 1988. Tel. (415) 283-2040.

Before Breakfast and Hughie. South Street Theater, 424 West 42nd Street, New York
City, opened May 1,7, 1988. [Length of run uncertain. For information, call (212) 279-4200.]

Desire Under the Elms, dir. Linda Herr. Palmer Auditorium, Connecticut College, New London, March 3-5, 1988.

Desire Under the Elms (Lubov pod Viasami), dir. Mark Lamos. Pushkin Theatre, Moscow, Spring 1988. (See news note in this issue.)

The Glencairn Quartet, dir. Marc Bruno and William Oliver. Just So Productions, San Francisco, CA, April 27 - June 18, 1988. (Performed aboard the C.A. Thayer, an authentic period vessel in San Francisco harbor, by a cast of 25 locals who lead spectators about the ship as the plays unfold. A one-ring nautical Tamara? Just so!)

The Great God Brown, staged reading dir. David DeRose, performed by Yale School of Drama students at Monte Cristo Cottage, New London, CT, April 14, 1988.

The Great God Brown. California State University, Hayward, CA, 94542, November 17-26, 1988. Tel. (415) 881-3118.

The Hairy Ape, dir. William Payne. American Blues Theatre at the Bailiwick Theatre, Chicago, IL, July 1987. (Reviewed by Kathleen A. McLennan in the March 1988 issue of Theatre Journal, p. 114. with a full-page photo on 115 of Yank [Tom Heraty] being subdued by a half-masked ensemble.)

The Hairy Ape, dir. A. M. Raychel. Theater-Studio, 750 8th Avenue, New York City, January 23 - February 1, 1988.

Hughie, dir. Peter Loffredo. '92 Theater, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, March 17-19, 1988. Meetinghouse, Chester, CT, March 24-26, 1988. (In this Connecticut Heritage Production, Hughie shared the bill with John Madison Morton's Box and Cox.)

The Iceman Cometh. Oregon Shakespearean Festival, Ashland. In repertory, July 29 -October 19, 1988. Call or write for specific dates. 15 South Pioneer, Ashland, OR 97520. Tel. (503) 482-4331.

In the Zone and Ile. Leamy Hall Auditorium, Mohegan Community College, New London,
CT, February 25-27, 1988. (Performed by cadets of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.)

Jimmy Tomorrow, a play by Michael Lynch based on O'Neill's story "Tomorrow." One Act
Theatre Company, San Francisco, CA, May 25 - June 19, 1988. Tel. (415) 421-6162.

Long Day's Journey Into Night, dir. Ingmar Bergman, with Bibi Andersson as Mary Tyrone. Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm, Sweden, Spring 1988.

Long Day's Journey Into Night, dir. Jose Quintero, with Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst as the elder Tyrones. Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street, New York City. Opens on June 6 for a extended run in repertory with Ah, Wilderness! Tel. (212) 757-8646.

Marco Millions. Shanghai People's Arts Theatre, Shanghai, People's Republic of China. Included in the SPAT's 1988 repertory.

Marco Millions. American Conservatory Theatre, 450 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, opening in October. Tel. (415) 673-6440.

A Moon for the Misbegotten, dir. Gene Reilly. Connemara Players at ATA Sargent Theatre, 314 West 54th Street, New York City. Closed on March 28, 1988.

A Moon for the Misbegotten, dir. John Lion. Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CA. Closed on June 24, 1988.

Mourning Becomes Electra, Mohegan Community College, New London, CT, February 13, 1988. A staged reading directed by John Basinger.

Mourning Becomes Electra. College Theater, City College of San Francisco, 50 Phelan Ave., San Francisco, CA, 94112, September 16 - November 6, 1988. Call for specific information. The three parts will be performed separately on different evenings, and will run in repertory with Aeschylus' Oresteia, the latter performed by the Julian Theatre. Tel. (415) 239-3100/3122.

Strange Interlude (in French). National Theatre, Brussels, Belgium, May 12-18, 1988.

A Touch of the Poet. Civic Arts Repertory Company, Walnut Creek, CA, January 22 -February 20, 1988.

A Touch of the Poet, dir. Anthony Watts. Kendall Drama Lab, Southern Conn. State University, New Haven, February 24-27, 1988.

14. RECENT AND FORTHCOMING PUBLICATIONS.

Bogard, Travis. Contour in Time: The Plays of Eugene O'Neill, Revised Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. 544 pp. Cloth $37.50 (ISBN 505341-9), paper $12.95 (504548-3). (A review will appear in a future issue.)

Bogard, Travis, ed. and commentator. The Unknown O'Neill: Unpublished or Unfamiliar Writings of Eugene O'Neill. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988. Cloth $40.00, ix - 434 pp. ISBN 03985-9. (A review will appear in a future issue.)

Egri, Peter. "The Social and Spiritual History of the American Dream: Eugene O'Neill, A Tale of Possessors Self-Dispossessed." Acta Litteraria Academlae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 28 (1986), 65-89.

Floyd, Virginia, ed. and annotator. Eugene O'Neill: The Unfinished Plays--Notes for "The Visit of Malatesta," "The Last Conquest" and "Blind Alley Guy." New York: Ungar, 1988. (Fuller information and a review will appear in a future issue.)

Halfmann, Ulrich, ed. Eugene O'Neill: Comments on the Drama and the Theater: A Source Book. Tubingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 1987. Paper, DM 58. ISBN 3-87808-669-5. xxxv + 255 pp. (A review will appear in a future issue.)

Kreutzer, Eberhard. "Eugene O'Neill's Bound East for Cardiff: Genese, Struktur and Kontext eines paradigmatischen Einakters." Anglistik & Englischunterricht, 28 (1986), 33-47.

Liao, Kedui. "On The Hairy Ape." Foreign Lit. Studies (China), 33 (September 1986), 25-31. (On the play's expressionism.)

Lichtenberg, Joseph D. "The Late Works and Styles of Eugene O'Neill, Henry James, and Ludvig van Beethoven." In John E. Gedo and George H. Pollock, eds., Psychoanalysis: The Vital Issues. Vol. I: Psychoanalysis as an Intellectual Discipline (New York: International University Press, 1984), 297-319.

Liu, Haiping. "On the Late Creation of Eugene O'Neill." Foreign Lit. Studies (China), 33 (March 1986), 73-79. (In Chinese.)

O'Neill, Michael C. "Confession as Artifice in the Plays of Eugene O'Neill." Renascence, 39:3 (Spring 1987), 430-441. (A revision of a paper presented at the 1986 conference on O'Neill's "later years" at Suffolk University in Boston.)

Qunitero, Jose. "Carlotta and the Master." New York Times Magazine (May 1, 1988), pp. 56-67. A chronicle of his relationship with O'Neill's widow by O'Neill's finest director, who is himself a master at evocative and moving narration. Carlotta on the years after 1953: "we thrived on the treacherous giddiness of the high wire, and it is very difficult to adjust to the uneventful loneliness of the ground" (p. 64). Quintero's assessment of Carlotta: "she had loved O'Neill more deeply than anyone else, and ... she had paid dearly for that love" (p. 65).

Robinson, James A. "Convergence and Divergence: Father and Son in A Touch of the
Poet
and The Iceman Cometh." American Literature, 59:3 (October 1987), 323-340.

Sheaffer, Louis. O'Neill Son and Playwright and O'Neill, Son and Artist. Reprints of the 1968 and 1973 classics by AMS Press, New York City. Cloth only, $75 ea.

Smith, Robert S. "O'Neill, Wilder, and American Drama." Canadian Review of American Studies, 17 (Winter 1986), 469-476.

Stroupe, John H.. ed. Critical Approaches to O'Neill. New York: AMS Press. 1988. Cloth $39.50, x - 219 pp. ISBN 0-404-61587-2. (Twelve essays, eleven of which were published in Comparative Drama. A review will appear in a future issue.)

Szondi, Peter. Theory of the Modern Drama (1956), translated from the German and edited by Michael Hays. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988. (Vol. 29 in UMP's "Theory and History of Literature" series.) Cloth $19.95 (ISBN 0-8166-1284-6), paper $10.95 (0-8166-1285-4), xviii + 128 pp. (O'Neill is one of the playwrights in Szondi's work, which "has become a classic in Germany.")

Vena, Gary. O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh": Reconstructing the Premiere. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1988. Cloth $49.95, 265 pp. ISBN 8357-1841-7. (A review will appear in the next issue of the Newsletter.)

Werner, Bette Charlene. "Eugene O'Neill's Paradise Lost: The Theme of the Islands in Mourning Becomes Electra." Ball State University Forum, 27:1 (Winter 1986), 46-52.

15. JOURNAL OFFERS O'NEILL ISSUE FOR CENTENNIAL. The Recorder, the official publication of the American Irish Historical Society, will devote one of its 1988 issues to O'Neill. For information on how to obtain a copy when it is published in November, write to Professor Lowell Swortzell, 733 Shimkin Hall, New York University, NY 10003.

16. BOOK IN THE WORKS. Thomas D. Pawley of Lincoln University, President of the National Conference on Afro-American Theatre, is currently at work on a book to be titled "The Black World of Eugene O'Neill."

17. DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS ON O'NEILL (as listed in Dissertation Abstracts International, 8/86-3/87).

* Bower, Martha. "The Making of Eugene O'Neill's Cycle Plays: An Analysis of
O'Neill's Writing Process and Gender Role Reversal." DAI, 47 (Aug. 1986), 528A.

* Long, Deborah M. "The Existential Quest: Family and Form in Selected American Plays." DAI, 47 (Oct. 1986), 1119A. (Includes Long Day's Journey.)

* McDonough, Edwin J. "Quintero Directs O'Neill: An Examination of Eleven Plays of Eugene O'Neill Staged by José Quintero in New York City, 1956-1981." DAI, 47 (Oct. 1986), 1119A.

* Miller, Ronald R. "Eugene O'Neill's Vision of History: A Study of the Cycle Plays." DAI, 47 (March 1987).

* Stella, Tony S. '"Major American Playwrights and Exotic Materials: Eugene O'Neill, Clifford Odets, William Saroyan, Ed Bullins, and Sam Shepard." DAI, 47 (Oct. 1986), 1119A.

18. INDIAN DISSERTATION INCLUDES O'NEILL. Jancy George earned a doctorate from Calicut University in Kerala, India, last year, with a dissertation, directed by Prof. R. Viswanathan, on "Memory as Theme and Technique in Modern American Drama." The Emperor Jones was prominent in the study, which examined the adjustments in Aristotelian theory necessary for "drama of the mind."

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