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Three Plays: Desire Under The Elms; Strange Interlude; Mourning Becomes Electra
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Top Customer Reviews
The two other plays are well worth the experience of reading and/or seeing on stage. Mourning Becomes Electra, based on the Greek Electra myth, is especially wonderful. Its set in post civil war america and like Strange Interlude its length makes it a rare theatre treat to see performed on stage.
This much I remember from my high school English classes, but it would have been nice had this edition included a little critical introduction discussing the playwright's influences - or explaining just how in holy hell anyone ever managed to stage Strange Interlude when it's nine bloody acts long. That's 185 pages, boys and girls. Unless showrunners trimmed the thing by removing all the dialogue asides, sitting through that must have felt like sitting through Les Miserables...twice.
Still, you have to give O'Neill credit for having the stones to tackle a complete re-working of Aeschylus's Orestia and create the intermittently fabulous Mourning Becomes Electra, which was easily the highlight of the three plays collected here. It's fascinating to read MBE immediately after its source material, if only because it makes you speculate what the Orestia will look like two thousand years from now when the next talented guy decides to retell it to reflect the hang-ups of his day.
The plot is extremely well developed, though it's tinged with cliche at times. It centers around a mentally unstable woman groping for happiness and the happiness of her four lovers, each lovers in diffferent senses of the word. The first is her high school sweetheart, killed in the war. The second is her lifelong friend. the third is her husband, and the fourth is her doctor. Each have their quirks and instabilities, which make this play a strange interlude, indeed.
In any case, O'Neill.
First I read Desire Under the Elms. My reaction was (honestly) a shrug and a mental het zal wel Interesting play, kind of typical melodrama from the period. (I am positive that there are O'Neill scholars out there who can explain to me why this is Not So, and why I am an unlettered barbarian. But there you go.) Insight into the Desire of Woman. Father-son epic struggle. Death. Despair.
But then I got to Strange Interlude. Oh, I hated it. I hated O'Neill. I hated the coy technique of sharing the Real Innermost Thoughts of the characters. It was like he took Nina who was already in a cage-- the cage of her time, the cage of being written by a creep of an author-- and then he squared the cage by pretending to have access to her real thoughts. It is a *long* play, and reading it was like having fingers scraping on a chalkboard for its length. I hated it so much that I thought that he did Oona a favor by disowning her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To date, one of my favorite things is my Eugene O'Neil book of three plays. I'm glad to have these three pieces in my library.Published on July 22, 2013 by Althea McQueen
Just as described. Got it super-fast and just in time for daughter's school project. Would definitely recommend this book to others.Published on March 21, 2013 by Erin Stevenson
Only needed one play, but am delighted to have all three.
The book arrived in very good condition and - as usual - in a most timely manner.
Its the only play i read in the book. It was an interesting read. The dialect is sometimes hard to understand, only a few words though. Read morePublished on August 19, 2006 by I Like Books
Oneill, death death death, this is rereleased in vintage 1958,
mourning becomes electra , strange interlude, required reading
for all playwrights of our era.
Each of the three plays in this volume are beautiful in their own way, with a poignant message that you'll be the better for hearing. Read morePublished on February 14, 2001 by Ponderous one