A Moon for the Misbegotten

Those were the days of Abie’s Irish Rose and the Hollywood little people. O’Neill has America in the person of a Connecticut Yankee get to the truth of it, and lay his head on the “beautiful breasts” of Ireland for a space. This is the sort of thing that earned O’Neill a reputation for great playwriting, but somewhere along the line the import of his plays seems to have been mislaid, and he himself regarded as a glowering lord of the dark tragedian. This is a great loss for the American theater, to say the least, but it will be remembered that when the Beeb came to record the Bard’s Complete Works, four hundred years on, it still seemed advisable to them that the plays should be streamlined (be it ever so slightly), if only because three hundred fifty years of performance tradition are not brushed aside lightly.

“I don’t like your moon, Josie, it’s an ad for the past.” And then, incredibly, Pinter on Anew McMaster in Othello, “it is the very error of the moon; she comes more near the earth than she was wont, and makes men mad.”