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Eugene O’Neill’s Masterpiece Comes to San Miguel

By Fredric Dannen

“The past is the present … It’s the future too,” says Mary Tyrone, the guilt-ridden, drug-addicted mother in one of the monuments of modern theater, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night. O’Neill’s masterwork depicts a single day, from 8am to midnight, in the life of the Tyrone family—a merciless recreation of O’Neill’s own family, with all its secrets and lies laid bare. At the height of his powers as a dramatist, O’Neill reached back to the summer of 1912 and brought back to life his father, mother, and older brother, all of whom had since died, and himself as a still-unknown 23-year-old. The play, “written in tears and blood,” as O’Neill put it, spares no one, including its author, yet ends in catharsis, with “deep pity and understanding and forgiveness.” In writing so uncompromisingly about one family, O’Neill created a play about all families.

Theater
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
By Eugene O’Neill
Aug 17–27
Thu, Fri, and Sat, 6pm
Sun, 2pm
Spanish, with English subtitles
San Miguel Playhouse, Av. Independencia 82
Reserved Seat Tickets: 300, 200, and 100 pesos
Box Office: Mesones 57, Mon–Fri 10am–2pm
Online Sales: latroupemexico.com

Long Day’s Journey is legendary in the world of drama. “The greatest play ever written by an American,” says Tony Kushner, author of the Pulitzer-winning Angels in America. “Magnificent,” adds Robert Brustein, founder of the Yale Repertory Theater. The play’s power to move audiences is equally legendary. When the curtain fell on the Broadway premiere of the play in November 1956, the stunned audience was silent for nearly a minute, and then rushed the stage for a half-hour ovation.

Yet for all that, productions of the play are relatively infrequent. Last year’s New York production with Gabriel Byrne and Jessica Lange was the first Broadway revival of the play in 13 years. Community theater groups rarely attempt to mount O’Neill’s autobiographical play because of the tremendous demands placed on the director and four principal actors. However, theatergoers within traveling distance of the San Miguel Playhouse, on Avenida Independencia 82, will have an opportunity to see a full production of the play, with period sets and costumes, and professionally trained actors, director, and assistant director. To the community’s great fortune, the play will run between August 17 and 27, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 6pm, Sundays at 2pm. Mexico City veteran director and actor Julián Tabche has assembled a stellar cast.

This will be the debut production of La Troupe, a new San Miguel-based theater company with the mission of presenting plays to combined audiences of Latin Americans and English-speaking expatriates. All of La Troupe’s productions will be performed in Spanish, but the company has equipped the San Miguel Playhouse with a high-end super titling system, and English supertitles will make the play fully accessible to people with limited or no Spanish. The English titles will be clear and easy to read for all spectators in the center section and audience left-side section, where tickets are priced at 300 and 200 pesos respectively. Titles will not be available in the right-side section, where tickets are priced at 100 pesos.

Tickets for Largo Viaje Hacia La Noche, the Spanish title, are available for purchase online at latroupemexico.com and at La Troupe’s box office, at Mesones 57 (corner of Reloj), Monday through Friday, 10am to 2pm.

 

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