PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Arden Theatre, in Old City, has raised the curtain on “A Moon For The Misbegotten,” a powerful autobiographical work and accepted classic by Eugene O’Neill.

The scene is a rundown Connecticut farmhouse in the early 1920s. There are five characters but only three principals: a noisy tenant farmer, the farmer’s New York-based drinking buddy who owns the farm, and the farmer’s rangy daughter, Josie, who describes herself as “an ugly lump of a woman.”

O’Neill — no light-fingered humorist — introduces us to James Tyrone Jr., whose dramatized agonies are believed based on developments in O’Neill’s own life.

The major focus here is the agony and despair born of the impossibility of the relationship between Tyrone and Josie.  The booze flows like a river and  it’s an alcohol-saturated duel in which Tyrone retreats to possible self-destruction and Josie sees her own salvation.

The extended drama is illuminated by such area actors as Eric Hissom as Tyrone and, without question, the remarkable Grace Gonglewski as Josie.  Matt Pfeiffer directs.

If you’re looking for powerful theatre, “A Moon For The Misbegotten” runs through February 27th at the Arden Theatre, 40 North Second Street, in Old City Philadelphia.

Reviewed by Bob Nelson, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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