A Powerful Exploration of Humanity
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Nobel laureate Eugene O'Neill offer a moving and powerful exploration of Humanity in his play "A Moon For The Misbegotten." It is one of his classic piece of work filled with lots of drama in a very intimate surrounding; where love can be found in many places and often it can be bittersweet to the core. It is also a play with a refreshing update from the creative innovator himself Director William Brown.
While African Americans were erased from the narratives of many playwrights that filled their storylines in the 19th century with whites, Brown notably made the conscious decisions to change the depiction of this era to tell the story of an African American working family. A family whose desire was to achieve the American dream through economic developments and hardships the same as white citizens in America. We get to explore this classic story told with fresh eyes on a new stage at Writers Theatre.
"A Moon For The Misbegotten" is a love story set in the 1920s in rural Connecticut. It is based around the impoverished and ungainly sharecropper daughter Josie Hogan (Bethany Thomas) whose love for alcoholic James Tyrone (Jim DeVita) comes to ahead one long summer night. She lives on rented farmland with her father Phil Hogan who is an overbearing hard working drunkard played by the remarkable talent of (A.C. Smith). Josie knows her father best, and she can hold her own on the farm; however, she is the only one left to help around the farm because Phil has driven away his three sons in search for a better life.
Phil would like to purchase the land outright one day and has an agreement with his landlord Jim Tyrone (Jim DeVita) to do so until he came into his inheritance, which now poses a problem for him to buy it. Upon finding out that the land may be sold out from under them, and their neighbor T. Stedman Harder (Eric Parks) thinks they are a disgrace and would like nothing more than to buy the land for himself, Phil and Josie hash up a plan to save it. This ultimately bears the secret aspirations that two lonely souls have kept hidden for years.
In act one we witnessed a terrified Mike Hogan played by Cage Sebastian Pierre as his sister Josie helps him run away from the Connecticut farm and his tyrannical father, Phil Hogan. We can tell that this play was going to be commanding under the direction of Brown due to the early scenes which authenticated the unique relationship between the feisty, strong-willed Josie and her hard working and hard drinking, scheming father. Thomas and Smith two dynamic actors have powerful stage chemistry that turned their arguments into dark humor.
Playwright Eugene O'Neill never used humor in his delivery of writing he wrote about loss and sadness and how it influenced his life and others. Director William Brown made this seem effortless because of the great casting of characters, which made this play easygoing and relatable.
Deep seeded emotions come to surface in act two, this is when we get to see how love and redemption play out between Josie and Jim over a few drinks. Jim loves Josie, but he is afraid that he will destroy her innocence due to his drunkenly fits of rage. However, he ultimately shares with Josie the source of his guilt while drowning in alcohol.
Great chemistry is also played out between Bethany Thomas and Jim De Vita on stage with deep-seeded emotions. Sparks of pure lust are ignited under the moon for the misbegotten producing the effects of longing, guilt, love, sex, and loneliness, which is amplified through lots of drinks and personal desperation.
We highly recommend "A Moon For The Misbegotten" although this play was nearly 3 hours long, it was worth every minute to see how the tragic love story between Josie and Jim unfolded. Two lonely souls that were never allowed to come together entertained us with pain and laughter which tugged at our hearts and permitted us to empathize with them in their dilemma to become one.
The cast includes:
Jim DeVita (James Tyrone, Jr.)
Eric Parks (T. Stedman Harder)
Cage Sebastian Pierre (Mike Hogan)
A.C. Smith (Phil Hogan)
Bethany Thomas (Josie Hogan)
Writers Theatre presents
A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN
Written by Eugene O'Neill
Directed by WT Resident Director William Brown
February 7 – March 18, 2018
Filed under: ChicagoNow