A Moon for the Miscast

Eugene O'Neill's emotionally powerful drama lacks its misbegotten heroine

In a play with neither climax nor real dramatic drive, the spiritual connection between Josie and Tyrone is fundamental. The success of O'Neill's drama depends upon our belief in Josie as a primeval force capable of standing in for all the lost mothers in the writer's dramatic (and personal) universe and sending Tyrone (and, by implication, O'Neill's brother) to his final resting place in peace. The second half of Moonis full of mystical promise: The chaotic atmosphere of Robert Mark Morgan's ramshackle barnyard of a set becomes a symbol of mental as well as physical decrepitude. Weigert and Barricelli's game of emotional hide-and-seek is heightened by Garth Hemphill's nighttime soundscape and the slow movement of lighting designer Don Darnutzer's huge, pendulous moon across the sky.

Powerhouse Down: Robin Weigert, as 
Josie, is too slim and pretty to play "an ugly, 
overgrown lump of a woman."
Kevin Berne
Powerhouse Down: Robin Weigert, as Josie, is too slim and pretty to play "an ugly, overgrown lump of a woman."

But as the big, broad-shouldered Barricelli repeatedly throws himself upon Weigert's comparatively small frame, it's hard to believe he'll find true salvation there. Underplaying the importance of Josie's physicality "inevitably lowers the stakes and throws the play weirdly off-kilter."

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