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Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009

APT’s ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’

Theater Review

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­Often, the present is little more than the accumulation of the past's painful residue. Few pasts appear to have been as painful as that of playwright Eugene O'Neill, whose autobiographical masterpiece, Long Day's Journey into Night, caps American Players Theatre's 2009 summer season.

Chronicling the family of James Tyrone Sr. (Kenneth Albers), a former stage actor who now dabbles unsuccessfully in real estate, Long Day's Journey finds its five-member cast awash in a fog-shrouded world of alcohol, narcotics, fear and accusation. The characters' lives revolve less around what is or could be, concentrating instead on past failures and finding fault, exposing the ugly interior monologues many of us experience to the cold light of day, often with harrowing results.

The stellar cast makes the nearly four-hour production in APT's new Touchstone Theatre at times emotionally exhausting and dramatically exhilarating. Albers creates a solid, albeit flawed core around which consumptive son Edmund (Darragh Kennan) and alcoholic son Jamie (Jim DeVita) swirl both as victims and assailants. Sarah Day turns in a career-defining performance as Mary Tyrone, a woman addicted to both morphine and memories of what might have been. As the servant Cathleen, newcomer Leia Espericueta rounds out the stunning production's cast.