Review: 'Long Day's Journey' holds your attention


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Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2009, 8:18 pm
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By Julie Jensen, celtic@qconline.com
Eugene O"Neill"s "Long Day"s Journey Into Night" is autobiographical to a degree, a ghostly play in which the Tyrone family is haunted by the past. It all happens on a foggy summer day in 1912.

It takes place in one room, with a table to hold numerous whiskey bottles and glasses as the addictions of the family become clear. The lonely blasts of a foghorn can be heard.

The title of the Harrison Hilltop Theatre production is literal, with a three-hour running time plus a 15-minute intermission. However, it"s strong theater that holds the attention of the audience.

Ray Gabica was imported to the cast from Western Illinois University -- where he"s a long-time faculty member in the department of theater and dance -- to play the role of James Tyrone, the father, a penny-pinching former actor capable of screaming rage.

Jackie Madunic is Mary Tyrone, the mother who became drug-dependent after the birth of her son, Edmund, and is returning to morphine to ease the arthritic pain in her hands. She loves the fog because, she says, "It hides you from the world. You feel nothing is what it seems to be."

Edmund, the son whose birth was the beginning of Mary"s troubles, is played by James Bleecker. He has consumption, and there"s an argument about whether he should go to a more or less expensive sanatorium. When he tells his mother he"s going to one, she screams "No!" and slaps him hard. She insists he has nothing but a summer cold.

Jason Platt plays Jamie Tyrone, the older son. He"s a self-loathing drunk who tells his brother, "I"ve been a bad influence on you. I always wanted you to fail."

Cathleen, the maid, is portrayed by Maggie Wooley. She announces lunch in a shrieking voice and keeps Mary Tyrone company when she is terrified to be alone.

The men drink endlessly, watering the booze to make the flasks look full, and they stumble about drunkenly. Occasionally they exchange blows.

Michael Chasen directed the play, assisted by Don Hazen. Greg Hiatt designed the costumes, which reveal the period in Mary"s gown, primarily. The set, designed by Chris Walljasper, is a living room/dining room with steep stairs rising upward to bedrooms.

The play is eerie and emotional. It will be performed again at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Hilltop, 1601 Harrison St., Davenport. Tickets are $16 for night performances ($14 if you reserve ahead of time) and $14 for the matinee. Call (309) 235-1654 for reservations.
















 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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