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O’Neill + 2

Lucky me, I remembered that I read Harold Pinter’s Birthday Party and Len Jenkin’s new play Time in Kafka to prep for auditions earlier this season. 2 more down. Although I didn’t find any fabulous monologues in either, they were both really enjoyable reads.

In the mean time, I may be slowly becoming obsessed with Eugene O’Neill. As mentioned in my last post, I am going through his older one-acts and they are brilliant. I have read three now and they are really absorbing. They are a bit roughly sewn together and the stagings are sometimes pretty fantastic for a play that might only run 20 minutes, but my god! These are gut-wrenchers about rarely considered classes of people. I always feel so blessed to get to experience someone’s brilliance like this – many thanks, O’Neill.

The Web, by Eugene O’Neill

This was the first short I read out of this collection that made me go, “Oh, yes!” In a very few pages two strangers (a prostitute and an escaped prisoner) are thrust together in the most pitiful of circumstances, fall in love and are cruelly separated. And there’s a baby. Oooooooh, so good. And there are monologues, people!

Warnings, by Eugene O’Neill

I couldn’t find pictures for either of these shorts by themselves, but this is the cover of the collection these are from. This is a glimpse into yet another dusty corner of civilization and how we can push each other to make dangerously stupid decisions in our destitution and fear.  Again, there are monologues and really interesting characters. The main characters are an exhausted and frayed mother of five and her 50 year old husband who is terribly afraid he is about to lose his livelihood. Oh, the things we will do.

Also, if you like O’Neill I would highly recommend Mourning Becomes Electra, his strange Civil-War era version of the Oresetes cycle plays. Very compelling stuff.


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