Cardiff (Bound East for Cardiff) Closing (Theater and Galleries) New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater)

When: Jan. 29-31 2009

Eugene O'Neill's first produced play is a starkly poetic study of a sailor dying at sea, aboard a British tramp steamer. Surrounded by shipmates, the stricken Yank reflects on the rough life of a seaman, and reminisces about his adventures--including a knife fight in which he killed a man. The power of this one-act is in its language, but Brazil's avant-garde Companhia Triptal performs it in Portuguese, without supertitles, and the detailed synopsis provided in the program can't convey the epic quality of O'Neill's text. Still, director Andre Garolli's inventive if sometimes self-indulgent production--in which viewers are herded from their seats to the stage, and then up two flights of stairs to the crew's claustrophobic quarters--evokes the eerie beauty and brutal violence of shipboard life through remarkable visual and aural design, as well as the lead actors' world-class vocal and physical technique. Why doesn't some Chicago theater company produce this play (and the rest of O'Neill's S.S. Glencairn cycle) in English, so that theatergoers can experience the brilliant early works of the genius who wrote A Long Day's Journey Into Night, in their original language? --Albert Williams

Price: $15

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