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Twisted love triangle

by Archives March 20, 2002

Tis a family story, aye, the story of love and betrayal, of trust and friendship, of an Irish family called the Hogans. Set in rural Connecticut in the early 20’s, A Moon for the Misbegotten is the last play by one of America’s premiere dramatists, Eugene O’Neil.
It is the story of Josie Hogan, played by Jane Spidell, the daughter of Phil (Gordon Masten) and sister to Mike (Ryan Hollyman), Thomas and John. The threes sons all run away, the last of them, Mike, just as the play starts. The father is a cheating, lying, greedy man that works his children to the bone on his farm. Josie is a tough woman: brazen, stubborn, and known around town as a hussy. The Hogans are tenants on James (Jim) Tyrone’s farm (Alain Goulem). Jim is different from the Hogans; well educated and spoken, cultured and traveled. He has money, but chooses to socialize with the poor farmers instead of the rich landowners like himself.
The plot revolves around Josie, her father and Jim. Josie loves Jim, Jim loves Josie, but both are oblivious to the other’s feelings. The scheming father wants Jim’s money and manipulates his daughter into thinking Jim has promised to sell the farm behind their backs.
In terms of being classified as a psychological drama, this element only comes into play the second half. The father, with his schemes, succeeds in pushing away his only daughter. Jim turns to alcohol as a method of dealing with his past and the death of his mother. And Josie is kind of trapped in between her father and Jim.
The cast work well together and a couple of times succeed in giving the audience the impression of being privy to what is going on, which almost makes you forget that you are watching a play. Most of the time though, you are quite aware that you are watching actors perform. I prefer my theatre experience to be more cerebral, there was not a lot of subtlety in terms of the characters. It isn’t that they lack emotion, but a little more restraint would have let the audience experience the characters instead of them telling us exactly how they are.
The set, lighting and other decor were fantastic. Set and costume designer John C. Dinning and lighting designer Luc Prairie made everything very real. From the rickety old shanty in which inhabit the Hogans, to the old barrel in which is kept a supply of water.
Good dialogue, twists in the plot and development of the characters are what keep the story moving and the play entertaining.
A Moon for the Misbegotten is on until March 31 at the Centaur, 453 Saint-Fran_ois-Xavier. For tickets call 288-3161.

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