eugene o’ neill – i drammi del mare


Eugene O’ Neill (1888-1953), was very successful on the professional level but his life was a failure (fallimento) as he had drinking problems, difficult relationships (he had several wives) and diseases (malattie). In 1943, O’Neill also disowned (diseredò) his daughter Oona for marrying the English actor, director and producer Charlie Chaplin when she was 18 and Chaplin was 54. He never saw Oona again. He also had distant relationships with his sons, Eugene O’Neill Jr., a Yale classicist (classicista) who suffered from alcoholism, and committed suicide in 1950 at the age of 40, and Shane O’Neill, a heroin addict (drogato) who also committed suicide. In 1936 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. O’Neill died in Boston, on November 27, 1953. O’Neill was part of the modern movement to revive (ripproporre) the classical heroic mask (maschera eroica) from ancient Greek theatre and was influenced by the Japanese Noh theatre in some of his plays. He was also very interested in the Faust theme, especially in the 1920s. In Strange Interlude (Pulitzer Prize 1928) O’Neill experimented with the stream of consciousness technique to depict (descrivere) internal conflicts on the stage. Mourning Becomes Electra (1931) is an adaptation of the Greek theme of the Oresteia, a trilogy of plays by Aeschylus. Also O’Neill’s tragedy is made of three plays – Homecoming (il ritorno), The Hunted (la preda), and The Haunted (il perseguitato) – never produced individually; each of them contains four to five acts and involves (coinvolgono) a lot of characters. In 1956, three years after his death, his autobiographical masterpiece (capolavoro) Long Day’s Journey Into Night was published and produced on stage to incredible critical acclaim (richiamo). It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 and is now considered to be his finest play. It chronicles a day in the life of the Tyrone family, during which family members inexorably confront one another’s mistakes and failures (errori e fallimenti).

il mare – fonte di nuove ispirazioni linguistiche
Drammi di Mare
At the start of his dramatic career (carriera di drammaturgo), Eugene O’Neill wrote seven one-act plays (atti unici): The Long Voyage Home, The Moon of the Caribees, Bound East for Cardiff, In the Zone, The Rope, Ile and Where the Cross is Made. All these plays form a cycle and are a striking illustration of O’Neill’s remarkable ability to create dramatic tension and atmosphere. The American-Irish playwright wrote these plays in 1916-17 after spending a year at sea (1910-11), during which he suffered from depression and alcoholism. Moreover his parents and older brother died within three years (entro tre anni) of one another, and O’Neill turned to (si diede) writing as a form of escape (fuga). But despite (a dispetto) his depression, he had a deep love (profondo amore) for the sea, and it became a major theme in most of his plays. The plays were performed (furono recitate) first in Provincetown Players theatre then in Greenwich Village Playhouse. The real only hero of all these plays is the sea. The first four plays share (condividono) the same setting, the ship S.S. Glencairn, and some characters, the mariners Driscoll, Cocky, Ivan, Smitty and Olson. The plots are simple: a man is dying and recalls his past life; a young mariner would like to stop and settle down in a farm but is drugged and delivered (drogato e trasportato) on a boat with no return; a crew (ciurma) is obsessed by the war time (tempo di Guerra) paranoia and is frightened (spaventata) by an unreal U-boat (sottomarino); a mariner is never involved (coinvolto) in the usual past times of his fellows and is always alone with his secret thoughts ; a man is haunted (perseguitato) by the idea of a treasure till his madness involves even his son; an old man is waiting for the arrival of a son who only wants his money and a captain does not want to sail back without the proper load of whale oil (giusto carico di olio di balena) and drives his wife mad (fa diventare pazza la moglie). The real novelty is the language which follows these characters and depicts their personalities and their moods. O’Neill reproduces the language heard on ships by uneducated, illiterate people, who cannot express their hidden feelings and anguish. The setting is simple, bare (spoglio), stylized. O’Neill’s tragedy is made of three plays – Homecoming (il ritorno), The Hunted (la preda), and The Haunted (il perseguitato) – never produced individually; each of them contains four to five acts and involves (coinvolgono) a lot of characters. In 1956, three years after his death, his autobiographical masterpiece (capolavoro) Long Day’s Journey Into Night was published and produced on stage to incredible critical acclaim (richiamo). It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 and is now considered to be his finest play. It chronicles a day in the life of the Tyrone family, during which family members inexorably confront one another’s mistakes and failures (errori e fallimenti).

il nuovo teatro – Eugene O’Neill
Eugene O’ Neill (1888-1953), born in New York, gave a new originality to the stage (teatro) mainly as to (soprattutto per ciò che riguarda) the language and the setting (ambientazione). His plays combine (combinano) realism with expressionism, the metaphysical with the poetic. Set in America they describe the society of the first decades of the 20th century, a society which started being oppressive and dehumanizing (disumanizzante). O’ Neill denounces the fragmentation of families, the difficulty of relationships, the profound racial divisions showing his interest in S. Freud’s theories and Ibsen and Strindberg’s plays. The characters who populate his plays are eternally lost children; they wander (vagabondano) haunted (perseguitati) by pathos, futility and frustration. They become representative of Man, universal figures. O’Neill used stylized settings (ambientazioni stilizzate), masks, strange sound effects (strani effetti sonori), choruses (cori), interior dialogue and dance to intensify his message and stimulate the subconscious of the audience.

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