Royal Exchange Stages Misbegotten O'NeillDate: 5 December 2000
The resurgence of interest in the work of the late American playwright Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953) continues apace in 2001 with a new production of one of his rarely performed classics. A Moon for the Misbegotten opens at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre on 5 February 2001 (previews from 31 January) and continues to 24 February.
Set in Connecticut in 1923, the drama centres on the Hogans, a double-dealing family of dirt-poor tenant farmers who are trying any crooked trick to stay one step ahead of eviction. The family's guilt-ridden landlord has stuck by them so far - but what if he receives a better offer? One night of whiskey and moonlight could change the fragile bond between them forever.
O'Neill's last completed play, A Moon for the Misbegotten crowned a body of work which won him four Pulitzer Prizes as well as a Nobel Prize for Literature and which shaped contemporary American drama. His many works include Beyond the Horizon, Strange Interlude, Mourning Becomes Electra and Desire Under the Elms.
Two of O'Neill's better-known masterpieces have had high-profile British productions recently. The Almeida's award-winning production of The Iceman Cometh, starring Kevin Spacey, played at the theatre's home venue in Islington in 1998 before transferring to the West End and Broadway. And his autobiographical Long Day's Journey into Night is currently enjoying critical acclaim with Jessica Lange and Charles Dance in a production at the West End's Lyric Theatre.
The Royal Exchange's A Moon for the Misbegotten features Helen Schlesinger as Josie Hogan, the sister who remains on the farm that her brothers have deserted. Schlesinger has appeared in the Royal Exchange productions of The Road to Mecca and King Lear. A Moon for the Misbegotten is directed by Royal Exchange artistic director Matthew Lloyd.