Monday, January 17, 2011

Moon For the Misbegotten

If anyone ever doubted that plays are meant to be seen, rather than be read, go immediately to the Arden Theatre, located at 40 N. 2nd Street in Olde City, Philadelphia. A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O’Neill is being produced on their Arcadia Stage through February 27, 2011. I have always found Eugene O’Neill’s works a little tedious to read, but this production is anything but. The set is rustic, comprised of a wooden shack with a large porch that is home to the Hogans.  There is also a working water pump upstage. Grace Gonglewski, as Josie Hogan, portrays a self deprecating, tough-as-nails, “bad girl” with a mind of her own and an attitude to back it up. Her first words are spoken in a heavy brogue as are the words H. Michael Walls, playing Phil Hogan. Every word is succinct and easy to understand, despite the heavy accent.  We immediately are introduced to a father whose three sons left town to escape him and his daughter who can “handle him” (and does so with a menacing stick in her hands). The brogue falls off as the play progresses.  Whether this is by design or not doesn’t seem to matter. The stage has been set and the audience is well entrenched in Josie’s story. Along comes James Tyrone, Jr., played by Eric Hissom. A marked distinction of class separates him from the Hogans; he owns their land and comes with a story of his own. How very much like Phil Hogan he is, we learn from escapades at the local inn. He is very convincing as a drunkard. Can he truly love Josie as he claims? His haunted past threatens to destroy his future .What can one night in the moonlight do for a couple?  Will it enhance their relationship or serve as a mask to hide a devious plot? One sign of a good production is how well it flows.  Moon for the Misbegotten runs 2 ½ hours including the intermission. It is riveting. The audience was spellbound when not laughing at the occasional bits of humor thrown into the mix. Don’t miss an opportunity to see this very well-acted classic. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at 

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