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Long Day's Journey into Night

By Eugene O'Neill
Directed By Jean-Marie Apostolides

April - May 2002

Notes from the Director Jean-Marie Apostolides:

Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953) wrote Long Day’s Journey into Night in 1941. The play is dedicated to Carlotta, his second wife. The author meant it "as a tribute to [her] love and tenderness which gave [him] the faith in love that enabled [him] to face [his] dead at last".

He wrote it "with deep pity and understanding and forgiveness for all the four haunted Tyrones. " O’Neill wanted the play to be published 25 years after his death and never produced. However, as the author’s widow, Carlotta had the play published and produced in 1956, only three years after the playwright’s death. Since 1956, this text has been performed all over the world and is regularly shown in the USA. It is generally considered one of the author’s greatest plays and a classic drama of the American repertoire.

This play is usually seen as autobiographical and realistic. The first point is evident even if one should be cautious when reducing the text to its biographical components. Autobiography is a risky enterprise and O’Neill cannot be totally associated with Edmund, his double. Each character represents some elements of the author’s unconscious, creating a dialogue between the different elements of his rather complex and tortuous personality. The second point, that of the play’s realism, is even less obvious. Reducing Long Day’s Journey to a realistic representation of an uncharacteristic American family in 1912 makes it easy to forget many other aspects encompassed in this text. Beyond being a representation of O’Neill’s family, it is also a conscious rewriting of Hamlet and of Ghost Sonata, a famous play by Strindberg which was first performed in America in 1924, by the Provincetown Players, under the direction of O’Neill himself. The references to ghosts are so numerous in Long Day’s Journey that they force us to confront them.

I chose to underline the play’s many connections to the symbolic theatre which influenced the young O’Neill so much. By doing so, I hope that the unconscious structure of the play will be visible and its multiple layers of signification will become more evident.


CAST

Mary Tyrone ....................................... Mikel Clifford
James Tyrone .................................... Charlie Anderson
Jamie Tyrone...................................... Erik Kaul
Edmund Tyrone ................................. Noah Feinstein
Cathleen ............................................. Lara Marie
The Ghost of Young Mary .................  Jennifer Le Blanc
The Ghost of Young Tyrone ............... David Fenerty

PRODUCTION

DIRECTOR ......................................  Jean-Marie Apostolides
Stage Manager ................................. Bob Gudmundsson
Stage Manager's Assistant ................. Maeve Clifford
Director's Assistant ........................... David Fenerty
Director's Assistant ........................... Jennifer Le Blanc
Costume Design ............................... Mikel Clifford
Sound Design ................................... Pierre Apostolides
Sound Design ................................... Paulin Capron
Technician ........................................ Pierre Apostolides
Technician ........................................ Stanley Clayton
Light Design ...................................... David Starke
Set Design ........................................ Lea Feinstein
Set Crew ..........................................  Melissa Westlake
Set Crew ........................................... Keith Baldwin
Set Crew ........................................... Jasmine Beach-Ferrara
Set Crew ............................................ Sally Lillis
Set Crew ............................................ Ken Lillis
Set Crew ........................................... Julia Shiang
Poster and Program ........................... Christian Frock


Special Thanks to: Linda Allen, Iris Cavagnaro, John Dahlen, Gregg Le Blanc, Jo Lusk, Masquers Playhouse, Clive Matson, Ralph Miller, Vicky Siegel, Linda Sklov, Anne Ventresco and The Eugene O'Neill Historic Site.



Lara Marie (Cathleen) grew up in and around the Bay Area before leaving to study in Colorado and then Massachusetts. She was thrilled to play Lulu in her first year at Williams College. Having returned to California for a short time, she is equally thrilled to be joining Actors Ensemble for Long Day’s Journey into Night.
 
Erik Kaul is very proud to have the opportunity to play Jamie Tyrone at the Live Oak Theatre. He has been playing in Bay Area theatres since 1999 including roles such as "Orestes" in the College of Marin production of The Orestiea, "Happy Lohman" in Marin Classic Theatre's production of Death of a Salesman, and "Bernard" in Hold Me at the Fringe Festival 2000. Erik can be seen in the upcoming independent film "Bar" as well as in the short internet film "Pierce" by Vivian Giourousis.
 
Jennifer Le Blanc (the ghost of young Mary) is enjoying immensely her first production with Actors Ensemble of Berkeley.  She has worked locally with Staged Hereafter and The Oak Consortium. Favorite roles include Jennet Jourdemayne in The Lady’s Not for Burning, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, Simonides in Pericles, Prince of Tyre and Paulina in The Winter’s Tale.  Jennifer is excitedly anticipating her summer season with the Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival. She is inspired in this and in all her work by the two great loves in her life, Gregg Le Blanc and Billy Shakespeare (not necessarily in that order).
 
David Fenerty (the ghost of young Tyrone) has appeared in two previous AE productions this season, as Henry Carr in Travesties and as Kulygin in Three Sisters. Last year, he played Dvornichek in Rough Crossing (also with AE), Dr. Caius in The Merry Wives of Windsor (San Leandro Players) and The Divorcing Man in the short film Minute Matrimony. Before leaving Colorado in 1999, he appeared in a number of different plays, among them Quartermaine's Terms, Terra Nova, Venus Observed, Loot and Kafka's Dick.
 
Noah Feinstein (Edmund Tyrone) is pleased to be making his West Coast debut with the Actors Ensemble. During past fits of theatrical activity, he played Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Macduff in Macbeth, and Jesus in not one but two productions of Godspell. Noah is delighted to be playing an age-appropriate role - possibly for the first time in his life - and hopes it doesn't mean he's getting old.
 
Jean-Marie Apostolidès is a professor of Drama at Stanford University.  He was trained as an actor at the Conservatory of Troyes and at the "Communauté Théâtrale" in Paris, under the guidance of Raymond Rouleau and Tania Balachova. In Canada, he worked with Olivier Reichenbach in Montréal or Jean Gascon in Ottawa. For the last eight years, at Stanford or in the Bay area, he has directed a dozen shows, with an emphasis on contemporary French repertoire (Sartre, Genet, Ionesco, Beckett). As a playwright, his plays have been produced in Canada, France and the USA. He is also the author of 8 books published in France.
 
Mikel Clifford (Mary/Costumer) has worked professionally in theatre in the Northwest, New York, California, the Midwest, and Alaska as actor, costumer, stage manager, and grip.  Her training includes San Francisco State (Masters of Art), New York State University (Masters of Art), New York University (Master of Fine Arts), and the Universiteit te Ghent & the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Fulbright scholar).  She studied with Warren Frost (acting), Karl Wallenda (movement), Lew Christiansen & Lenore Job (dance), Mamako (Mime), and Sandra Archer (Commedia). Part of the merry band creating Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 1968, she worked with BRT five happy years before herself founding what is now called the California Shakespeare Festival.  With CSF, she served as the first Artistic Director, and also acted, created costumes, and functioned as general dogsbody.  Ms Clifford also founded the ongoing Minnesota Shakespeare Festival.  Founding another theatre is underway in Mill Valley, California.  In a past life, she performed with The Experimental Wing of the Committee, and in film and TV, but now is mother of the young singer, Maeve Clifford. This is Ms Clifford's seventeenth show with Actor's Ensemble.
 
Charlie Anderson (James Tyrone) devotes his retirement years to performing in community theaters throughout the Bay Area.
 

Actors Ensemble emphasizes ghostly aspects of Long Day's Journey
By Jeanne Fogler - STAFF WRITER OAKLAND TRIBUNE

Eugene O'Neill wrote Long Day's Journey Into Night to confront the ghosts of his life.

The Actors Ensemble of Berkeley production that opened Friday at Live Oak Park Theatre presents this play with an emphasis on the ghostly presence of its characters.

Director Jean-Marie Apostolides has chosen to transcend the straight-out realistic aspect of the drama by augmenting it with symbolic elements. This is evident from the first appearance of the players. They enter through the auditorium in a stately, quasi-religious procession bearing aloft a statue of the Virgin Mary and two huge volumes: Hamlet and August Strindberg's The Ghost Sonata.

Everything, from these entrance props to the actor's costumes to the elements of the bare-bones stage set is (ghostly) white. One interesting effect is a standup panel with a silhouette of a female form cut from it. While the obvious reaction is to regard this as representing Mary Tyrone, it also serves at various points as a device to frame the silent presence of one of the family members or to express a character's sense of isolation.

At other moments, shadowy upstage tableaux reflect the deteriorating condition of Mary's mental state.

In the play itself, several interlinked issues recur to define the particular dysfunctions of the Tyrone family - money, alcohol, illness, lives wasted or irrevocably altered, loss of religious faith. The giant in the middle of all these is mother Mary's off-again, on-again morphine addiction, which is revealed to the audience gradually throughout the long summer day in which the play unfolds.

Perception is colored by denial at the play's beginning, as the tense, fluttering Mary accuses her husband and sons of spying on her. They don't want to believe, and she doesn't want to admit, that she has started using again. She also doesn't want to believe, and they don't want to tell her, that younger son Edmund's illness may be something far more serious than a lingering summer cold.

As the day progresses, everyone's story emerges: The decline of the brilliant promise of father James' acting career, older son Jamie's resentment toward Edmund, Mary's departure from convent life and her spiral into friendlessness. Even while the Tyrones sling various recriminations at one another, inklings of deep affection rise to the surface, making this web of problems even more poignant.

The principal actors - with Mikel Clifford as Mary, Charlie Anderson as James, Erik Kaul as Jamie and Noah Feinstein as Edmund - all turn in strong performances. But I noticed an odd thing: They all appear noticeably more comfortable and vigorous in their roles during the second act than in the first.

This could possibly be chalked up to a collective case of opening-night jitters, which everyone eased out of as they grew more relaxed. But another audience member commented that it could be because O'Neill doesn't really get to the heart of the matter until the second act, at which point the actors are then able to hit their stride.

Catch them while you can: Long Day's Journey Into Night runs until May 11. The summer production of Actor's Ensemble will be Wendy Wasserman's  The Heidi Chronicles.  After that, the company will have a one-year hiatus while the building that houses Live Oak Park Theatre undergoes earthquake retrofitting.

IF YOU GO 
Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night"
Presented by: Actors Ensemble of Berkeley 
Where: Live Oak Park Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley 
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, plus May 9; closes May 11 
Tickets:$10 Call:(510) 528-5620

Article Last Updated: Tuesday, April 16, 2002 - 6:37:50 PM MST
Reproduced by permission of Jeanne Fogler


Thank You

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley is delighted to acknowledge the Berkeley Civic Arts Program and Civic Arts Commission's support in the form of a grant of $5,200.00 awarded in 2016. This will enable us to continue to provide free or low cost opportunities for community members to participate in the life changing activities of theater arts.

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