Domestic Violence

Looking for saving grace in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten at Palm Beach Dramaworks

Haig, Durkin: The heebie-jeebies come callin'.
Shel Shanak
Haig, Durkin: The heebie-jeebies come callin'.

Details

A Moon for the Misbegotten, written by Eugene O'Neill. Directed by Bill Hayes.With Todd Allen Durkin, Kati Brazda, and Peter Haig. Presented through November 30 at Palm Beach Dramaworks, 322 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-514-4042, or visit www.palmbeachdramaworks.org.

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Michael Amico's set is redolent of slow, romantic decay; above his rotting farmhouse and rusty well, even the wooden sky looks like it might be infested with termites. And casting Peter Haig as farmer Phil Hogan would be a stroke of genius if Haig weren't a Dramaworks stalwart anyway. In his every scene, his drunken cantankerousness rubs raw against his native good nature, and the man's sadness — the estranged family, the poverty, the rock-filled farm whose most abundant crop is poison ivy — is gorgeously offset by a rough grace that's the only thing that could keep a man smiling through such a life. His is the grace that O'Neill was likely hoping to inspire in himself when he wrote the play. After being put through O'Neill's dramatic grinder, Haig's performance, which really feels more like a benediction, is the one thing that will allow Moon's audiences to sleep soundly come nighttime.

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