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Sweden to Stage Two O'Neill Plays

BY Arthur Gelb
FROM The New York Times, March 15, 1956

World Premieres of Last Unpublished Works Will Be Given by Royal Theatre

The last two unpublished plays from the pen of Eugene O'Neill will received world premières at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Sweden, where his much-discussed "Long Day's Journey Into Night" was put on last month.

Mrs. Carlotta Monterey O'Neill, the playwright's widow, said here yesterday that "Hughie," a one-acter, would be produced there in the fall and that "A Touch of the Poet," a full-length drama, would be staged in the spring of 1957.

The latter work was the first of O'Neill's planned cycle of nine plays that was to have dealt with an American family from the Eighteen Twenties to the author's own time.  Six more of these plays were written, but O'Neill was dissatisfied with them.  He destroyed all six before his death in 1953.

"I had the terrible experience of helping him tear them up," said Mrs. O'Neill.

Mrs. O'Neill, who owns the rights to her husband's plays, said she would not received any royalties from the Swedish productions.  Proceeds from the presentations will be used to set up an O'Neill Scholarship Fund; each year on Oct. 16, the anniversary of the playwright's birth, a scholarship will be awarded to a deserving actor at the Royal Dramatic Theatre.

" 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' was put on  in Sweden first," Mrs. O'Neill explained, "because my husband wished that above all things.  My husband left me the other two plays to do with as I pleased.  I felt that the Royal Dramatic Theatre's success with 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' was so terrific that I wanted them to do the other plays.  They have real theatre over there."

Director Expresses Thanks

Dr. Karl Ragnar Gierow, director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre, said yesterday that it was "obviously with deep gratitude that I have received this great gift."  He arrived here on March 5 to thank Mrs. O'Neill personally for having allowed his theatre to put on "Long Day's Journey Into Night."  Thus far Mrs. O'Neill has turned down requests from American producers who want to do the play in New York.

His theatre, Dr. Gierow said, had received many invitations to tour the play in various cities abroad, "including feelers about an appearance in New York."  He added that he would be happy to bring his troupe here with the production "if the economic details can be arranged."  Mrs. O'Neill said that she would approve such a project.

Dr. Gierow plans to put on "Hughie" with another one-act O'Neill play on the same program.  In discussing "A Touch of the Poet," he said that the leading role, that of Cornelius Melody, "seems almost to have been written for Lars Hanson," one of Sweden's foremost actors.

"It is much brighter and more gentle than O'Neill's other plays," Dr. Gierow continued.  "It might be labeled a serious comedy."

The play, whose action takes place in an inn in Connecticut in the Eighteen Twenties, was completed in 1940.  O'Neill then abandoned the cycle to write "The Iceman Cometh," "A Moon for the Misbegotten" and "Long Day's Journey Into Night."


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