By Zena Kapsoff
The Unauthorized Afterlife of Eugene O’Neill is a one-man show written and performed by James Cady. The play is directed by Brian Hansen and produced by Donna Marie Barra.
The play begins at Eugene O’Neill’s end with “born in a hotel room… died in a hotel room.” James Cady explores the life of this complex playwright as he tries to find meaning and answers. We hear of his contentious upbringing by actor James O’Neill and Mary Ellen Quinlan. However, his father’s illness was a grievous blow to him. James’ last wish was for Eugene to “have courage in being true to yourself and not a sellout.” One surprise was to find out Eugene’s daughter Oona is the same Oona that became Charlie Chaplin’s last wife!
Once we get past the ominous beginning, the play is quite witty, insightful and humorous… not morose and morbid. James Cady’s performance gives us a glimpse into the mind of this legendary poet/playwright/Nobel laureate/multi Pulitzer-Prize winner. Questions are raised… Who would win in a dual, Eugene or the hideous wallpaper? Was O’Neill a huntsman or did he see himself getting into the lion’s den of life? Will he ever find the toc to his tic? Do we get to see him enjoy his favorite song, “Minnie the Mermaid”? You will just have to see for yourself before it ends.
The Unauthorized Afterlife of Eugene O’Neill runs Sept. 23 at 8 p.m., 24 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., and 25 at 8 p.m. in the Carrie Hamilton Theatre (upstairs) at The Pasadena Playhouse located at 39 S. El Molino Ave. in Pasadena. General Admission: $30/$15 for students. For more information, please call (626) 356-7529 or visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.