A Moon for the Misbegotten, Circle Theatre. Four acts hang a heavy load of narrative on a plot that seems the stuff of farce: sly farmer Hogan and his buxom daughter Josie scheme to stop their alcoholic landlord from selling their farm--and damned if the landlord doesn't declare his love for the slatternly lass, and damned if she doesn't take him at his word. But the universe of Eugene O'Neill's play is that of the soul, and the earthly fates of the land and the lovers pale before that of James Tyrone, the last survivor of the unhappy family introduced by the playwright in Long Day's Journey Into Night.
Director Lynn Ann Bernatowicz focuses on the story's psychological dynamics, guiding her cast through the lyrical text to extract every fragment of humor and melancholy. Robert Bailey valiantly navigates the erratic tempers of the spiritually ravaged James, yet both he and the hugely enjoyable Scott Rowe, playing the amoral Hogan, are eclipsed by the brilliant performance of Kirsten Fitzgerald as Josie. Their tightly integrated, richly detailed playing engages our emotions with a slow, subtle intensity, making the three-hour running time pass quickly.
--Mary Shen Barnidge