Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill

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Synopsis

Here on Compact Disc - a full-cast recording starring Robert Ryan, Stacy Keach, and Geraldine Fitzgerald - Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night.

O'Neill's painful view of his own life forms the core of Long Day's Journey Into Night, one of the greatest of all American plays. The Tyrone family (father James, mother Mary, and sons Edmund and Jamie) of the play is a surrogate for O'Neill's own family and, through them, the playwright wrestles with his past demons.

Covering a single day and night, O'Neill's play traces the impact on the family relapse into a drug addiction and younger son Edmund's being institutionalized for consumption. These events reopen old wounds and resentments and initiate a harrowing series of accusations and recriminations that threaten to tear apart the family.

At turns haunting, riveting, and emotionally lacerating, Long Day's Journey Into Night is one of O'Neill's greatest plays.

Directed by Arvin Brown, starring Robert Ryan, Stacy Keach, Geraldine Fitzgerald with James Naughton and Paddy Croft

 

About Eugene O'Neill

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Eugene O'Neill was born in New York City on October 16, 1888, the son of popular actors James O'Neill and Ellen Quinlan. As a young child, he frequently went on tour with his father and later attended a Catholic boarding school and a private preparatory school. He entered Princeton University but stayed for only a year. He took a variety of jobs, including prospecting for gold, shipping out as a merchant sailor, joining his father on the stage, and writing for newspapers. In 1912, he was hospitalized for tuberculosis and emotional exhaustion. While recovering, he read a great deal of dramatic literature and, after his release from the sanitarium, began writing plays. O'Neill got his theatrical start with a group known as the Provincetown Players, a company of actors, writers, and other theatrical newcomers, many of whom went on to achieve commercial and critical success. His first plays were one-act works for this group, works that combined realism with experimental forms. O'Neill's first commercial successes, Beyond the Horizon (1920) and Anna Christie (1921) were traditional realistic plays. Anna Christie is still frequently performed. It is the story of a young woman, Anna, whose hard life has led her to become a prostitute. Anna comes to live with her long-lost father, who is unaware of her past, and she falls in love with a sailor, who is also unaware. When Anna finds the two men fighting over her as though she were property, she is so angry and disgusted that she insists on telling them the truth. The man she loves rejects her at first, but then later returns to marry her. Soon O'Neill began to experiment more, and over the next 12 years used a wide variety of unusual techniques, settings, and dramatic devices. It is no exaggeration to say that, virtually on his own, O'Neill created a tradition of serious American theater. His influence on the playwrights who followed him has been enormous, and much of what is taken today for granted in modern American theater originated with O'Neill. A major legacy has been the nine plays he wrote between 1924 and 1931, tragedies that made heavy use of the new Freudian psychology just coming into fashion. His one comedy, Ah, Wilderness (1933), was the basis for the musical comedy, Oklahoma!, itself a groundbreaking event in American theater. O'Neill later began to write the intense, brooding, and highly autobiographical plays that are now considered to his best work. The Iceman Cometh (1946) is set in a bar in Manhattan's Bowery, or skid-row district. In the course of the play, a group of apparently happy men are forced to recognize the true emptiness of their lives. In A Long Day's Journey into Night (1956), O'Neill examines his own family and their tormented lives, a subject he continues in A Moon for the Misbegotten (1957). O'Neill's work was highly honored. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1936 and Pulitzer Prizes for Anna Christie, Beyond the Horizon, Strange Interlude (1928), and A Long Day's Journey Into Night, which also received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. O'Neill died in Room 401 of the Sheraton Hotel on Bay State Road in Boston, on November 27, 1953, at the age of 65. He was also born in a hotel room in Times Square, NYC.
 
Published January 1, 1956 by Yale University Press. 160 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Long Day's Journey into Night

BC Books

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As we learn more about these tragic figures, we realize that we're looking at mere spectres of the people they once were: James, the once-celebrated Shakespearean actor;

Mar 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Long Day's Journey into Night

Chicago Tribune

After the Goodman's mammoth production of "The Iceman Cometh" this past spring, it's refreshing — if one ever uses that adjective in conjunction with Eugene O'Neill — to revisit America's poet laureate of the dark night of the soul in cozier quarters.

Nov 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Long Day's Journey into Night

Dominion of New York

Picture it: Blanche drags Dorothy to her favorite dive bar, but gets upset when Dorothy starts getting attention from the men for her singing ability.

Sep 29 2014 | Read Full Review of Long Day's Journey into Night

Project MUSE

Following its production of Desire Under the Elms in March and Now I Ask You in June (the latter was reviewed in volume 32 of the Eugene O'Neill Review), this company, which dedicates part of each season to an investigation of the work of one famous playwright, took on the culminating play in the...

| Read Full Review of Long Day's Journey into Night

Washingtonian

(It is part of the citywide Eugene O'Neill Festival anchored by Arena and the Shakespeare Theatre Company.) It is Carey's riveting Mary Tyrone that pulls this production into emotional focus whenever she's onstage and when other characters seem a little fuzzy.

Apr 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Long Day's Journey into Night

ChicagoMag.com

Long Day’s Journey into Night just might be the most aptly titled of Eugene O’Neill’s wordy works.

Nov 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Long Day's Journey into Night

Talkin' Broadway

Though nothing in this production can quite match the breathless final moments of the show, in which the conflicted Mary Tyrone (Vanessa Redgrave) confronts the ghosts of her past in a morphine-fueled torpor, Redgrave achieves nearly as much success when she rounds on her youngest son, Edmund (Ro...

May 06 2003 | Read Full Review of Long Day's Journey into Night

Reader Rating for Long Day's Journey into Night
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