Charles Isherwood of The New York Times recently saw our production of Strange Interlude, which he calls “a rollicking mixture of ripe melodrama and acerbic comedy.”
Facing O’Neill’s Tortured Losers, You Can Only Laugh
by Charles Isherwood
The New York Times
Published April 20, 2012
Great gusts of laughter are rippling through the Shakespeare Theater Company’s capacious Sidney Harman Hall here. If you stood outside the auditorium’s doors, listening to the happy tumult inside, you might assume that one of Shakespeare’s comedies was being performed, or that some of Noël Coward’s bright young things were deploying their barbed wits on one another.
Not exactly. The characters causing such continual merriment are actually the tortured souls of Eugene O’Neill’s epic drama “Strange Interlude,” circling one another through the years, scratching at their own and one another’s heart sores as they grapple with the demons of hopeless love, unquenchable guilt and the mystery of God’s indifference to man’s search for happiness.
It was not, I should make clear, considered a laugh riot at the time. And yet the director Michael Kahn’s stylish, oddly fascinating new production of “Strange Interlude” makes a convincing argument — unintentionally, I suppose — that while O’Neill’s expansive drama may no longer be wholly persuasive as a probing philosophical exploration of the human condition, it remains surprisingly engaging entertainment. It is a rollicking mixture of ripe melodrama and acerbic comedy, the humor deriving from the almost farcical manner in which the lives of its characters keep tangling themselves together in fraught, borderline absurd ways.
Read the full article on The New York Times’ website.