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Drama Department to present Eugene O’Neill’s final play
The Drama Department opens the Spring 2003 season with its production of Eugene O’Neill’s final completed work, “A Moon for the Misbegotten.” Directed by Rodney Hudson, the production runs Feb. 14-Feb. 23 in the Storch Theater. A sprawling drama of longing and forgiveness, the play is a spiritual epilogue to the Tyrone family chronicle “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which closed the 2000 season at Syracuse Stage with Sam Waterston and Elizabeth Franz.
” ‘A Moon for the Misbegotten’ is possibly O’Neill’s best play,” says Hudson. “He writes with a maturity and poetry that speaks to love, hope and forgiveness, and finds absolution from his own family through the redemption of his characters.”
Paying sad tribute to O’Neill’s real-life older brother, the plot focuses on the bourbon-soaked and flirtatiously charming Jamie Tyrone, ne’er do well son of actor James Tyrone Sr. With both parents dead, Jamie Tyrone comes to own the family estate, including a tiny rock-strewn Connecticut farm that Jamie rents to Phil Hogan, an Irish immigrant with a penchant for drinking and troublemaking. When rumors emerge that Jamie intends to sell the Hogans’ run-down home out from under them, Hogan persuades his daughter Josie to seduce Jamie and entrap him into marriage. During a moon-drenched meeting of tentative romance, the two are haunted by Jamie’s dissolute life, family ghosts and Josie’s sense of unworthiness. In a fleeting moment wrapped in Josie’s arms, Jamie finds solace and redemption for the demons of his past, while Josie finds the love and acceptance she never imagined possible.
Senior drama major Mark Schweikert leads the cast as the guilt-ridden alcoholic heir to the Tyrone estate. Schweikert has previously appeared on the SU stage in “Getting Out” and “The Taming of the Shrew.” Playing opposite Schweikert as Josie Hogan is senior Erin Buchanan, a drama major who last appeared in “The Greek Project” and was recently nominated for the American College Theater Festival’s Irene Ryan Award. Syracuse University Drama professor Craig MacDonald plays Josie’s hot-tempered and manipulative father. An Ithaca resident, MacDonald has 20 years of experience as an actor and director. He has appeared on the Syracuse Stage as Van Helsing in “Dracula,” the Porter in “Macbeth,” Nick Pim in “The Sisters Rosensweig,” and Danny in “The Smell of the Kill.” Rounding out the cast are junior musical theater major Richard Ugino and sophomore drama major Paul Gagnon. Ugino, who last appeared as Captain/Paco in the SU Drama production of “Man of La Mancha” plays the Hogans’ wealthy neighbor; Gagnon will make his SU Drama debut performance as Josie’s brother.
Scenic Designer Rebecca Lord creates the visual landscape of the Hogans’ Connecticut homestead, featuring rocks, fallen trees and a weather-beaten wooden shack. The design team also includes costume designer Danielle DesMarais, lighting designer David Ferguson and Adam Perlmutter taking charge of sound design.
Eugene O’Neill is credited with elevating American theater to an art form respected around the world. In addition to winning four Pulitzer Prizes, O’Neill is the only American playwright to have won the Nobel Prize for literature. Some of his best-known works include “Beyond the Horizon,” “Anna Christie,” “The Iceman Cometh,” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students and senior citizens. “Pay What You Can” night is Feb. 19 for valid SU I.D. holders. SU students enrolled in the Arts Adventure Program may purchase tickets at the Shine Center Box Office. For tickets or more information contact the Drama Department Box Office at 443-3275 or go online at http://vpa.syr.edu/drama.