Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mini-Review of "O'Neills Ghosts" by Jovanka Bach - A John Stark Production at the TBG Theatre

I recently attended a showcase presentation of the play "O'Neill's Ghosts" by Jovanka Bach.  The play depicts a haunted Eugene O'Neill in 1912 confronting the ghosts that haunt him - his mother, his father, his son Bud, his brother, and his very alive wife, Carlotta.

The cast consisted of

John DiFusco as Eugene O'Neill
Lisa Thayer as Carlotta
Phil Donion as Bud
Dana Kelly as James
Mona Lee Wylde as Ella
Tom Groenwald as Jamie
Tanya Starcevich as Maud

I have long been intrigued by the plays of O'Neill, and I was very much looking forward to this work that would offer insight into his creative process and how his real life struggles translated autobiographically to the stage.  This play by Jovanka Bach does offer some of those insights as he is seen struggling to write in the fog-bound Connecticut coast.  My problems with this play - both its writing and its execution - is that I found myself not caring a bit about any of the characters depicted on the stage. The character of Carlotta, in particular, is problematic.  She comes across as one-dimensional, consistently histrionic and cartoonish in caring more about her dog than about her husband or about the troubled Bud.

As the play is further developed, I would hope for more three-dimensional depiction of characters that are worthy of our attention.


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