AH, WILDERNESS! Young Vic, 14 April-23 May 2015. Photography by Johan Persson: above: George MacKay and Dominic Rowan; right: David Annen and Janie Dee.
Eugene O’Neill wrote only one play that could (and has been) described as a comedy and after sitting through the very long 110 minutes of Ah, Wilderness! one can see why he stuck to tragedy and melodrama. Written in 1933, some seven years before Long Day’s Journey Into Night, the play for which it’s apparently a prequel, it’s also set in the summer clapboard cottage on the Connecticut seashore of the playwright’s boyhood memory, on which he wistfully looks back.
How do you we know he’s wistfully looking back? Director Natalie Abrahami has added an O’Neill look-alike (David Annen) who alternates looking wistful with scribbling in a notebook and vaguely taking part at various points. His participation becomes momentarily central in the second half when he is required to carefully sweep the downstage area clear of sand in order that a pond may be filled with water. Watching an actor spend many minutes diligently wielding a broom is one of the less interesting ways of passing time, and this bit of housework acting is no exception.Continue reading →