Sunday, 8 April 2018

Bonding with Global Theatre - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

The stage is a reflection of society and in order to emphasize its importance, every year on March 27, World Theatre Day is celebrated. Initiated in 1961 by the UNESCO-sponsored International Theatre Institute (ITI), this day is annually celebrated by ITI Centres in different countries and the international theatre community at large. It was entirely appropriate that the eastern metropolis paid its own tribute to this day with a new adaptation from the American wizard playwright Eugene O'Neill's 1956 play - as staged in the Broadway a good three years after his death - Long Day's Journey into Night that was acknowledged as the Nobel Laureate's magnum opus and earned him a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.

Long Day's Journey into Night takes place in four acts on a single day - supposedly in August 1912 - - from around 8:30am up to midnight. The setting is the crumbling seaside Connecticut home, Monte Cristo Cottage, of O'Neill's father. The four main characters are the semi-autobiographical representations of O'Neill himself, his elder brother, and their parents. In a nutshell, the play portrays a decadent American family in a ferociously negative light as the parents and two sons express accusations, blame and resentments: qualities which are often paired with pathetic and self-defeating attempts at affection, encouragement, tenderness and yearnings for things to be otherwise. The gnawing pain of the family is made the worse by their depth of self-understanding and self-analysis, combined with a brutal honesty - - as they see it - - and an ability to boldly express themselves. The story primarily deals with the mother's addiction to morphine, compounded by the family's addiction to whiskey, the father's miserliness, the older brother's licentiousness and the younger sibling's illness.

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