Ensemble stages classic O'Neill work
March 8–31, Cleveland Heights’ Ensemble Theatre will stage another timeless Eugene O’Neill play, “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz.
A sequel to “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” the play continues O'Neill's exploration into themes of deceit—both of others and within oneself—and the ever presence of death.
After Ensemble’s recent productions of O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey . . .” and “The Iceman Cometh,” Hinz felt it was time to bring “A Moon for the Misbegotten” to Ensemble’s stage.
“It’s one of O’Neill’s last three plays,” Hinz said, “and those are his more famous works. He’s America’s greatest playwright, and the time was right to bring this one to light.”
Like all of Ensemble’s productions, “Moon” will feature an all-Cleveland cast, including Cleveland Critics Best Actress Award-winner Lara Mielcarek (for Ensemble’s “Well”), Robert Hawkes, Mitch Rose, James Rankin and Nate Homolka.
“It was a nice confluence of having a notoriously difficult play to cast and having talent in the area, who we’re familiar with, be at the right stage in their careers to cast it,” Hinz commented.
Hinz said he was attracted to the play’s depiction of class and the message of humanity that it conveys.
“With all of the negativity today, this play gives audiences a respite from all of that in the world,” Hinz said. “It’s a prayer to O’Neill’s brother, offering peace after a lack of compassion toward his older sibling. I think audiences can recognize that offering of peace. The play is telling us, simply, that human beings should be kind to each other.”
O’Neill struggled to finish “Moon” before his death in 1953, and the play made its Broadway debut in 1956. Even in the later stages of his life, O’Neill’s work was still as lyrical and thought-provoking as ever, Hinz said.
“He’s a poet who is deliberate in his writing,” said Hinz. “O’Neill’s plays are composed like musical scores, with long thoughts and phrases, and he puts the drama in the context of those thoughts.”
“A Moon for the Misbegotten” will be performed on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m., at Ensemble Theatre, 2843 Washington Blvd.
Tyler Whidden is a playwright, director, and actor with Ensemble Theatre.