Eugene O’Neill Redux

Self is extremely curious as to why the Robert Falls production of Eugene O’Neill’s “Desire Under the Elms” closed early on Broadway ??!!

Self loved the play when she saw it at the Goodman!  It was definitely the highlight of self’s first trip to Chicago!

So, self was very happy to see an article about Eugene O’Neill in The New Yorker of 11 May 2009.  And she’s been wondering how to blog about it ever since.

Let’s see:  “Desire Under the Elms” brought the original cast —  Pablo Schreiber, Carla Gugino and Brian Dennehy —   to Broadway.  Here’s what Hilton Als has to say about it:

” . . .  the most powerful character in the beginning of “Desire Under the Elms” is the ultimate unattainable woman:  a dead mother.”

Wow!  That is just so funny.

The young hero of the play, Eben, is now “the only woman in the house; he wears his mother’s apron to cook for his brothers and keeps her parlor intact with a Norman Bates-like fetishism.”

Als has a really great way of re-creating dramatic mood.  Here’s how he describes the play’s opening:

” …  Falls opens the production in silence.  We see the two older brothers carting stones across the murky landscape.  Then we watch as Peter removes the entrails of a pig  —   the landscape can yield only blood, which is one reason that the brothers soon head for California.”


“We watch the daily life of the three characters  —  Eben, Abbie, and Ephraim —  develop to the strains of Bob Dylan’s Not Dark Yet.”

Als describes the play’s two young leads (Gugino and Schreiber) thus:

“Separately, they have spun poetry in the most literal-minded of mediums:  television.”

He has good things to say about both, but it’s his analysis of the female character that really wows self:

“While watching Gugino’s pretty, deceitful, lonely heroine bringing down the house she so longed for, I thought of the imperious and beautiful Carlotta Monterey, O’Neill’s last wife …  Monterey, a former actress, knew how to love and torture and deceive him just enough to keep him writing about the same woman over and over again.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

July is So Great

July is self’s favorite month of the year. Always has been. For the following reasons:

  • In California, July is hot.
  • In France, on Bastille Day, self understands that the whole French nation goes crazy and starts kissing one another.  One of self’s life goals is to get to Paris on Bastille Day (July 14).
  • The Fourth of July Parade in Redwood City is the best in the whole Bay Area.  The Leland Stanford, Jr. Marching Band, the UC Berkeley Marching Band, and the UC Davis Marching Band are regulars.
  • July 2006 is when self started this blog.  Happy Anniversary Month, Kanlaon!
  • July is when the really summer-type movies open.  Many many years ago, “Independence Day” landed in movie theaters and self never forgot that it took hubby and self three attempts before they were able to get into a screening that was not sold out.  July 15 is when “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” opens.  Also, now showing is a movie with Johnny Depp —  thank you, Hollywood producers, for ensuring that this month is a truly great one for movie-goers!
  • July also happens to be self’s birth month. (On self’s 16th birthday, and every birthday thereafter until she got married, Dear Departed Dad would give self something with a ruby in it.  With such a father, is it any wonder that self turned into an incorrigible idealist?)
  • July also happens to be son’s birth month. Yes, all those many years ago, self was at one time pregnant, and went into labor in the third week of July. Whereupon she was driven by a friend (or was it hubby? Everything’s a blur) to the Stanford Medical Center, where after heroic labor (Dearest Mum was at hand, but eating popsicles in the birthing room, which was no help) she was delivered of an 8-and-a half-pound baby boy.  Also, son’s fifth birthday was spent in Manila, and self hired a dancing troupe of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle impersonators.  An occasion she will never forget.  Now then, this July hubby is taking self to see Chris Botti.
  • July is also when self, hubby and son usually go to see a CalShakes play.
  • In July 2007, self was in the Djerassi Arts Residency Program.  She did no writing but, oh wow, the food was divine.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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