Exploring the greatest new and classic plays

SUPPORT OUR PODCAST BY BECOMING A PATRON
CLICK HERE

080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

Brian Cox and Patricia Clarkson
Wyndham’s Theatre, London
April 2024
Photo by Johan Persson

080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill’s autobiographical magnum opus Long Day’s Journey into Night  presents a single day and night in the lives of the troubled Tyrone family, during which they conduct a torturous and tragic self-examination. It is a relentlessly bitter and mournful round robin of recriminations and self-dramatization, written as an act of personal confrontation with O’Neill’s own family demons. As the title suggests, the play is long and taxing. It is raw and despairing, but also lyrical, and ultimately heartbreakingly moving.

Eugene O’Neill finished writing Long Day’s Journey into Night in April 1941, but because of the personal revelations it contained he gave explicit instructions that the play was not to be published until 25 years after his death, and more extraordinarily, that it should never be performed on stage. However, within three years of his death his widow allowed both the publication of the play, and the first productions at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, and then on Broadway, where it received ecstatic reviews and won the fourth Pulitzer prize of O’Neill’s career.

It has been staged many times since, filmed on a number of occasions, and become a staple of educational curricula, particularly in North America. As we record this episode, a powerful new production is playing in the West End of London, with Brian Cox, most recently renowned as the ruthless patriarch Logan Roy in the TV series Succession, and Patricia Clarkson leading the cast.

I am very excited and privileged to be able to talk to the London production’s director, Jeremy Herrin, about this monumental play.

Jeremy Herrin

Jeremy Herrin has been a director of Live Theatre Newcastle, The Royal Court, and Headlong theatre companies. Highlights of his distinguished career include directing Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies for the RSC, with transfers to London and New York; as well as James Graham’s plays This House, Labour of Love and Best of Enemies in London.

Jeremy also directed the original production of Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places & Things at the National Theatre, in the West End and New York, and he is directing a revival of the play at the Trafalgar theatre in London, opening in May 2024.

 

Recommended Play

Jeremy recommended People, Places & Things by Duncan Macmillan.

Become a Patron!
Since I launched The Play Podcast in April 2020, I have managed to eschew any form of advertising or sponsorship, and I would like to continue to produce the podcast without doing so. I therefore invite you to help me to continue to make the podcast by becoming a Patron. Additional benefits available to Patrons include Footnotes on the plays covered in the podcast, as well as early access to The Play Review. For details click here Thank you very much for listening and for your support. Douglas
The Texts
If you are interested in buying the play text or other related books, we’d be delighted if you choose to purchase them from our selected partners Bookshop.org and Blackwell’s. Not only will you be supporting independent booksellers, we will also earn a small commission on every book you purchase, which helps to keep the podcast going. Click on the cover to buy from our chosen partner. Thank you.
You might also be interested in …
080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

080 – Long Day’s Journey into Night, by Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill wrote his autobiographical magnum opus, Long Day’s Journey into Night, in 1941, but because of the personal revelations it contained he gave explicit instructions that it was not to be published until 25 years after his death and that it should never be staged. In the event his widow allowed both to occur in 1956, only three years after his death, when the play won O’Neill his fourth Pulitzer prize.

As we record this episode, a powerful new production of the play is playing in London, with Brian Cox and Patricia Clarkson heading the cast. I am delighted and privileged to talk with the production’s director, Jeremy Herrin, about O’Neill’s monumental play.

Photo by Johan Persson.

079 – The Hills of California, by Jez Butterworth

079 – The Hills of California, by Jez Butterworth

A new Jez Butterworth play is a theatrical event. The Hills of California is currently running at the Harold Pinter theare in London’s West End, directed by Sam Mendes. Do not be misled by the title, however, we are not in sunny California, but in the back streets of Blackpool, where four daughters come together to say goodbye to their dying mother. The play is a portrait of lost dreams, of deeply ingrained patterns of love and hurt within a family, and of suppressed and mutable memories.

I’m joined to explore this major new work by Sean McEvoy, author of Class, Culture and Tragedy in the Plays of Jez Butterworth.

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

078 – The Lover and The Collection, by Harold Pinter

We have a double-bill in this episode of two short plays written by Harold Pinter in the early 1960s: The Lover and The Collection, both of which explore sexual compulsion and the manipulation of truth within marriage or partnerships. As we record this episode a new production of both plays is playing at the Theatre Royal in Bath, directed by Lindsay Posner.

I’m delighted to welcome Lindsay back to the podcast to talk about these two Pinter gems.

Claudie Blakley and David Morrissey in The Lover
Photo by Nobby Clark

Jeremy Herrin

Jeremy Herrin

Jeremy Herrin

Jeremy Herrin has been a director of Live Theatre Newcastle, The Royal Court, and Headlong theatre companies. Highlights of his distinguished career include directing Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies for the RSC, with transfers to London and New York; as well as James Graham’s plays This HouseLabour of Love and Best of Enemies in London.

Jeremy also directed the original production of Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places & Things at the National Theatre, in the West End and New York, and he is directing a revival of the play at the Trafalgar theatre in London, opening in May 2024.

Recommended Play(s)

Jeremy recommended People, Places & Things by Duncan Macmillan.