Cultural Arts Review

27 05 2011

Abby Murray-Nikkel

Mr. Haning

Varsity Chorus 1b

May 27, 2011

Long Day’s Journey into Night

The Gilbert Theater put on Long Day’s Journey into Night; the play was very emotional and heavy. It tells the story of the Tyrone family, who lived in Connecticut in 1912. The parents, James and Mary, have two sons, Edmund and Jamie. The play takes place completely in the Tyrone’s living room, and consists almost entirely of conversations and arguments between the family members. There is not a traditional plot; the focus of the story is on the mother, who is addicted to morphine.

There is obvious tension in the household from the start of the play. The mother has recently returned from being treated for her addiction, and has been clean, but it is obvious that she has started doing morphine again. She is very anxious, worried, and depressed at some moments, yet in other moments she is unrealistically happy and in a dreamlike trance. She often reflects back on her life before she was married. The rest of the family knows that she has started back on her drug, but they do not know how to deal with it. They are afraid to bring it up because they do not want to upset her, and when they do address the problem, she pretends as if she does not know what they are talking about.

Each character of the play has an extreme downfall that contributes to the failing family dynamics. The father is extremely cheap, which causes his sons to blame their mother’s problem on him because he sends her to cheap doctors. Jamie is seen as irresponsible and is always out drinking and going to brothels, and then asking for more money. Edmund is the baby of the family; he is innocent and sweet and wants everyone to be happy, but he is unfortunately diagnosed with tuberculosis. All of these combine with the mother’s drug addiction to create some tense moments and nasty arguments.

The family dynamics posited by the show were easily relatable to all, at least on some level. It was disheartening to watch the characters continue to put themselves in such terrible situations. However, at moments, their love for one another overcame all of the bad things that were going on; these tiny slivers of hope were the only things that kept me watching. The emotions expressed in the play were extreme and at times even difficult to witness, but is important to be exposed to this because many people still today have lives similar to that of the family in Long Day’s Journey into Night.

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