BEST PLAY

A Moon For The Misbegotten

American Stage´s Moon For The Misbegotten had everything: a terrific script, inspired acting, judicious direction and stunning design. The script, by Eugene O´Neill, is an American masterpiece. In it, O´Neill showed his love for his brother Jamie by allowing the character based on him — ¨James Tyrone¨ — to find peace and forgiveness in the arms of a virgin earth mother for one blessed evening. As staged by Todd Olsen, that evening of tranquility was no sure thing. First James and Josie Hogan had to fight past their worst instincts, and had to realize that only something beyond sex could heal James´ wounded soul. The two excellent performers in these roles were Ned Averill-Snell and Julie Rowe; and they were helped by Loring Stevenson as Josie´s crusty father, and by Harry Richards as wealthy T. Stedman Harder. Todd Olson´s wise direction illuminated the through-lines of what can seem an asymmetrical text, and David Fillmore´s set, the exterior of the wooden shanty that Phil and Josie Hogan call home, was realistic to the last dilapidated detail. Amy J. Cianci´s costumes, from Josie´s dirty smock to James Tyrone´s three-piece suit, were always just right, and Joseph P. Oshry´s lighting was quietly perfect. Moon is an unusual play, with its almost religious reverence for the power of Woman, but the American Stage version made all its insights and ironies crystal clear. This was a production to remember.

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