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Mourning Becomes Electra
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Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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Location: Nashville, TN

PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this review, DE. It was odd to hear the audience laughing during parts of the play that seemed so serious when I read them on the page. Paul remarked that Helen Mirren got a lot of laughs and that the cast wasn't bothered by this reaction.

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Joined: 08 Feb 2006
Posts: 574
Location: Maine & CT, USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's wierd. I think that the time has come where O'Neil, once acclaimed as the "Shakespeare of America" and nobel prize winner for literature, has become very dated. When those plays were written, most people were not so sophistocated to drama as they are today through movies and tv. All that Freudian stuff in "Mourning" which was then very cutting edge, has become passee and it's become parody. A good work of drama, especially a dated, unrelatable Dockside Melodrama has to have something bigger than itself and its setting, something Universal that any person of any time can relate to through the characters or it resorts to being laughable and nobody really cares. I think that's what has happened with "Mourning" and why it's hardly the O'Neil play of choice staged in the US now. (O'Neil was pretty self indulgent about writing about his own personal problems) Even though it was initially based on the Greek Tragedy, it still doesn't fly these days. (Not to mention the length of the play can be tedious!) To some degree people are willing to forgive if it's the actual Ancient Greek Tragedy because it was written sooooo long ago. But then again, over here, you won't see too many Greek Tragedies playing long theatrical runs. Mourning is a relatively recent work (100 or so years) and that's too soon to be forgiven these problems by it has become dated, comedic melodrama and has been shelved.

I read the play and saw the old BW movie. I liked certain things about it as it unfolded in the first act that I could relate to or follow in its set up, the Adam Brant affair with Christine, the father's having an illegitmate child, Brant's shady background, the daughter kind of being attracted to him because he's one of those wild adventuresome boys/men....but found where it picks up and goes into a Freudian direction is when it becomes annoying and self indulgent. There are a few Tenessee Williams plays that lean towards some of that. But Williams wards off those problems with universal themes....great (families) empires in decline and, how the mighty have fallen....(like Faulkner) which leads to that whole Southern Gothic genre.

Funny that they chose Mourning to stage. Do you think the producers expected people would laugh when they set out? I guess the accents didnt' help.
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Location: walking the quiet lanes of Pleasureville

PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Photos from the Paul McGann Russian Fansite

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