Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Long Day’s Journey Into Night
By Eugene O’Neill
Directed by Mark Edward Smith
Staring Peg O’Keefe and Kristen Truelsen
Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando FL

In Eugene O’Neill’s world, anything worth saying is worth saying eight or nine times. We spend a rather longish day with the Tyrone Family, a group of maudlin Irish if ever there was one. Patriarch James (Truselen) was a successful actor but traded his rising star for a cash cow script and faded away to a life of cheap hotel rooms and failed real estate speculation. His wife Mary (O’Keefe) was raised in a convent but traded the nunnery for the theater life, but was never really a part of it. They did have three boys: consumptive Edmund (Adam Reilly), lothario James, Jr. (Gregg Weiner) and the missing son who died from poor medical care at birth. Along with a knack for bemoaning at length the injustices of the world, they’re all addicts to either booze or opiates. And if you’ve never been around drunks and addicts you don’t know how they can drain your soul, your energy and your pocket book.

With a four hour run time (long enough for a direct flight to LAX) the topics at hand are explored to nearly the audiences’ breaking point. O’Keeffe gives a masterful portrait of an unloved woman racked with the pain of arthritis and the deeper pain of Morphine. Her second act performance must be one of the greatest slides into despair ever staged. James Sr. is somehow the cause of all woe; he grew up poor and starving and lucked out in the theater, now he’s saving every penny against the day he might need it. Emphasize HIM; Edmund needs some good long term care. Edmund is stoic about it, James Sr. hopes for a fine funeral, and only Mom and James Jr are pitching doing the Good Deed. This despite James Jr’s tough guy façade; drink is his first love but he’s taken to supporting fat prostitutes; this is the only the only sympathy to be found here tonight.

Everything in the Tyrone house revolves around money; it’s the one thing they actually have but cannot utilize. What they lack is a path to kill their pain without killing themselves. A steady solid buzz doesn’t have any effect anymore and all they can do is remember why they are drunk, but never enjoy it. This is an extremely difficult play; while the production and acting is the best we have to offer in this town, the material is a long lesson in how to be miserable while making all those around you even more miserable.

For more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com

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