|the play takes place on and at the bottom|
of the grand staircase at the JJ Hill House
Another unique feature of this production is that it's a true family affair. Real-life married couple Claudia Wilkins and Richard Ooms play Mary and James Tyrone, and their son Michael Ooms is the elder son Jamie. It's kind of trippy to watch a real-life family acting out the life of another real-life family that lived 100 years ago, and they all give great performances. Claudia and Richard once again play a believable married couple (they also played a married couple in The Birthday Party at the Jungle last year), as Mary grows more and more unhinged due to her morphine addiction, and James, himself an alcoholic, gradually accepts their fate. Michael shines in the third act when Jamie is seriously drunk, funny and heart-breaking and a little scary. Luke Weber plays younger son Edmund (aka Eugene O'Neill) and fits in well with the family. Edmund is quiet and sickly, and comes alive when reciting his beloved poetry. It's a tragic story, except that the ever-present Carlotta (Evelyn Digirolamo) is able to successfully gather up the pieces of her husband's life and put them in some kind of order.
If you're reading this on Saturday, you might still be able to catch this unique theatrical experience - call or email now to see if there are any seats left for tonight's final performance (the price couldn't be better - free, with a suggested donation if you like what you see). I love seeing theater in non-traditional spaces, and this is an incredible space, a classic American play, and a really great production. I think this is the first time I've seen two different productions of the same piece in one year, much less in the same month. At first I was reluctant, not wanting to compare the two, but they turned out to be really nice companion pieces that gave me further insight into this play and the mind of the playwright.