A Moon for the Misbegotten

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Previewed 15 September 2006, Opened 26 September 2006, Closed 23 December 2006 at the Old Vic Theatre in London

A major revival of Eugene O'Neill classic play A Moon for the Misbegotten in London starring Kevin Spacey and Eve Best and directed by Howard Davies.

Set on the Tyrones' Connecticut farm, which has been leased to bullying widower Phil Hogan. Hogan's strong, earthy daughter Josie loves Jim Tyrone, Jr, an alcoholic actor who has come back to the farm after his mother's death. To secure his hold on the farm, Hogan convinces Josie that Jim intends to sell it; he encourages Josie to seduce Jim and force a marriage proposal. The pair spend an evening in conversation, which exposes Josie's softer side and Jim's inner torment.

The cast for A Moon for the Misbegotten features Eve Best as 'Josie Hogan', Eugene O'Hare as 'Mike Hogan' (Josie's brother), Colm Meaney as 'Phil Hogan' (Josie and Mike's father), Kevin Spacey as 'Jim Tyrone' and Billy Carter as 'T Stedman Harder'. Directed by Howard Davies with designs by Bob Crowley, lighting by Paule Constable, music composed by Dominic Muldowney and sound by Christopher Shutt. Although Eugene O'Neill wrote this drama in four acts in 1943, it was not performed in New York until 1957. The London Premiere took place at the Arts Theatre in January 1960 with Margaret Whitling playing 'Josie Hogan'.

The director Howard Davies says: "Some people avoid Eugene O'Neill because they think he's difficult or clunky in his language, or that the themes overwhelm the characters. I think they're wrong to void him. I think he's fantastic. His plays are big, raw and epic, he's struggling with fundamental themes, like love and betrayal and revenge. They're big themes, but very human and totally recognisable."

Kevin Spacey, who plays 'Jim Tyrone', on Eugene O'Neill's Moon For The Misbegotten: O'Neill is one of those writers who seem to have absolutely nothing between their heart and their pen. He's able to write characters, including himself, at a remarkable distance, without seeming to judge them. He just present's them, warts and all... I think Moon For The Misbegotten: is a minor masterpiece. O'Neill's interest has always been in teh struggle, to escape from your past, to be free in some way. All his plays on a large level have these thematic foundations about forgiveness and redemption and seeking some kind of peace. And it's their struggles that end up making all these characters worth paying attention to."

"Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten is rarely seen in Britain. Now, here are Kevin Spacey and Eve Best taking the leads in a powerful new production directed by Howard Davies. Spacey has certainly had his ups and downs as the Old Vic's Artistic Director, but this is an almost unqualified triumph. By the end of the evening, the actors look much like we feel: wrung out emotionally, exhausted but triumphant... A memorable production of a hitherto neglected masterpiece" The Sunday Times/p>

"Kevin Spacey is at his most mesmerising and magnificent as a despairing alcoholic in Eugene O'Neill's last play, A Moon For The Misbegotten. You won't find greater acting anywhere in London right now; you will, however, find better plays, for this occasionally preposterous piece takes a long half hour - until Spacey's Jim Tyrone makes his entrance - to stutter into flame." The Mail on Sunday

"The Old Vic, dark for the past eight months and shrouded in disgrace for a rotten season for months before that, can now bask in a glow of triumph, thanks to Kevin Spacey. He is at his most mesmerising and magnificent as a despairing alcoholic in Eugene O'Neill's last play, A Moon For The Misbegotten. You won't find greater acting anywhere in London right now; you will, however, find better plays, for this occasionally preposterous piece takes a long half-hour - until Spacey's Jim Tyrone makes his entrance - to stutter into flame. Even then it tends to smoulder rather than scorch. It's only when Spacey is on stage, and especially when he and Eve Best are locked in a doomed embrace and an astonishing stage partnership, that the play truly blazes... This is a play in which two lost souls reveal themselves as they really are to one another during a long night's journey into day. In a moving pieta, as the tortured Tyrone rests his head on Josie's breast, he finds peace for the first and last time in his life." The Mail on Sunday

"The play is, as the programme concedes, merely a 'minor' masterpiece, but at three hours long, and in the hands of a creative team that clearly has an unnatural fondness for the original text, it is a major ordeal." The Sunday Telegraph

A Moon for the Misbegotten in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 15 September 2006, opened on 26 September 2006 and closed on 23 December 2006.