LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT

Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

07/07/2022 - 30/07/2022

Production Details


By Eugene O'Neill
Directed by Shane Bosher

Presented by Auckland Theatre Company


power house company of artists dive deep 
into theatrical masterpiece that lays bare the soul of family. 

James, the head of the Tyrone family, is an actor held ransom to his own great expectations for himself and his family. Stifled by addiction, rivalry and ill-fated predicament, his sons Jamie and Edmund sink into a helpless delirium. All three vie for the love and attention of Mary. Wife and mother, she is battling her own not-so-private war. Underneath it all, their inescapable truths sit in conversation with each other, waiting to be unearthed.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1957 and regarded as a masterpiece of 20th-century American playwriting, Long Day’s Journey into Night is a deeply moving and poetic portrait of the irresistible pull of family and, most remarkably, the family’s capacity to heal.

Taking place over one turbulent day in the lives of the Tyrone family, Long Day’s Journey into Night will thrust audiences right into the centre of the family maelstrom, in an intimate in-the-round production at Q Theatre.

With towering performances by a stellar cast, director Shane Bosher’s take on this classic strips away the excess to expose the timeless and visceral heart of the story – love, family and the bruises left behind.

“Shane Bosher is a true auteur of the theatre with a singular style. This mountainous text in his hands, with four truly great actors, will be a theatrical event. No one will leave the theatre unchanged.” – Jonathan Bielski

Q Theatre, 505 Queen St, Auckland
5 – 30 July 2022
5 & 6 July, Previews
7 July, Opening Night
Tuesday – Thursday: 7pm
Friday & Saturday: 8pm
Sunday: 4pm
$30 – $74 (Service fees may apply)
Book Tickets.

RESTRICTIONS
Contains adult themes, depictions of drug and alcohol abuse, and a reference to suicide.


CAST
Theresa HealeyMary Cavan Tyrone
Stephen LovattJames Tyrone
Jarod RawiriJamie Tyrone
Simon LearyEdmund Tyrone


CREATIVE
Shane BosherDirector
Allison HorsleyDramaturg
John VerrytSet Designer
Gil Eva CraigSound Designer
Elizabeth WhitingCostume Designer
Sean LynchLighting Designer
Miranda HarcourtPerformance Coach 
Mary McDonald-LewisDialect Coach 


Theatre ,


2 hrs 30 mins, plus interval

Simple yet effective and impeccably acted to have you hooked

Review by Ethan Sills 18th Jul 2022

Few plays from the 20th century are as lauded as Long Day’s Journey into Night. The 1956, posthumously released play by Eugene O’Neill has been adapted and restaged countless times since its Tony-winning debut, picking up even more awards along the way.

It’s no surprise then that Auckland Theatre Company picked this classic as its great American production for the year. It’s a beastly production – dealing with addiction and drug abuse, spread across two and a half hours filled with tension that simmers through the audience – but for those craving a taste of Broadway, there’s plenty to satisfy here.

Director Shane Bosher has trimmed down the story of the Tyrone family, cutting out the maid Cathleen and focusing on the family quartet – Mary (Theresa Healey), James (Stephen Lovatt), Edmund (Simon Leary) and Jarod Rawiri (Jamie). [More]

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Compels our recognition, judgement, understanding and empathy

Review by John Smythe 08th Jul 2022

The Auckland Theatre Company and Q Theatre have reignited our appetites for theatre of substance with a superb production of a timeless classic.

Eugene O’Neill’s 26th full length play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, was written between 1939-41, published three years after his death and premiered in the USA the year after. His no-holds-barred autobiographical expose of dysfunctional family-life with his parents and older brother was given to his wife on the clear understanding it would not be published or performed while he was alive. It’s 15-year journey into light won him a posthumous Tony Award for best play and his fourth Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

A prime example of ‘write what you know’, and hopefully a therapeutic exercise for Eugene (who calls himself Edmund in the play), it could have been self-indulgent, tortuous and tedious for audiences in a less skilled playwright’s hands. O’Neill condenses four life-to-date stories into the one day and night when urgent questions are confronted, about mother Mary’s clandestine behaviour and Edmund’s state of health. Thus he creates the downward pressure that allows the familial conflicts and dragged-up histories to erupt, swirl and flow with dramatic and compelling credibility – superbly modulated by director Shane Bosher and his first-rate cast.

It has to be said the family is indolent, with little more to do than stew in their own toxic juices. It is while they wait for the summer maid, Bridget (Cathleen in the original script, and never on stage in this version), to call them in for the next meal that they gather in the living room to simmer, seethe, boil and steam. They have just had breakfast when the play opens, Act Two is pre-lunch, Act Three pre dinner and Act Four takes us deep into the wee small hours. The increasing amounts of whiskey consumed by the men add fuel to their variously enlightening, sparking, flaring and glowing fires. Conversely, Mary’s substance of choice renders her serene, sad, bitter, nostalgic and distant.

Director Shane Bosher and set designer John Verryt have utilised Q Rangatira’s thrust space configuration to superb effect. The less than salubrious nature of the home – thanks to the poor Irish Catholic heritage of James Tyrone whose resulting thrift-cum-miserliness is constantly complained about – is apparent in the odd collection of chairs that adorn the sparsely furnished revolving stage, judiciously lit by Sean Lynch to track the progress through day into night. Gil Eva Craig’s sound design and Elizabeth Whiting’s costumes complete the excellent production values.

The slow reveal of their circumstances and back stories draws us in to the drama, so I’m loath to go into too much detail here. Small clues are seeded that grow in significance, adding to the richness of the stew. Each flawed character’s journey into night compels our recognition, judgement, understanding and empathy. Collectively their mutually destructive dance of dislike and self-loathing fermented with unconditional love is, perversely, a treat to watch.

Central to the concerns of husband James and sons Jamie and Edmund is Mary Cavan Tyrone. Imbued with love for her ‘boys’, her medicated delusions, deceptions and disappointments are not so far removed from those we are all susceptible to. Theresa Healey manifests her ever-changing moods and gradual descent into twilight with exquisite subtlety and depth.

James Tyrone’s inner battle between his deprived childhood and supposedly successful career as an actor (in summer recess at present) underpins his variously concerned, compassionate, impatient and volatile responses to situations he finds himself and his family in. Not until the final act do we fully understand why he behaves this way and Stephen Lovatt lives each step of that journey with profound authenticity.

The older son, Jamie, is a reluctant and mostly out-of-work actor, dragged into the profession by his father. His drinking, womanising behaviour, alternately charming, mean and self-destructive, turns out to be driven by guilt. Jarod Rawiri makes him all too real, leaving us hoping he’ll find peace and redemption somehow. (O’Neill’s final play, A Moon for the Misbegotten, is a sequel that picks up Jamie’s story in the wake of Mary’s death.)

Edmund (like Eugene) ran away to sea to escape his family and pursue his love of literature, and has returned with suspected consumption. The coughing Simon Leary brings to the role is so real, it’s a relief to realise, in the current environment, it is Edmund who is afflicted. Leary fully embodies his complex, conflicted relationships with his brother and parents to complete the quartet of superb performances.

The fate of all four is left hanging – there is no reassuring redemption. But although we fear that the youngest may be the first to die, it’s good to know that Eugene O’Neill not only survived his sanitorium sojourn but discovered playwrights in the process, leading him into his brilliant career.

Postscript
On opening night, during the final Act, a woman in the audience suffered a medical event that brought the performance to a temporary halt. Far from feeling disruptive, the exemplary way the cast and crew handled it, and the silent compassion collectively felt by the audience, was heart-warming. The ability to distinguish fantasy from reality – a key theme in the play – became very real. Congratulations to all involved, including the four doctors from the audience.

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