After years of extensive renovations, New York City's Provincetown Playhouse -- a venue where several Eugene O'Neill plays had their premieres -- reemerged last year with a month-long retrospective on O'Neill. The company built on that success with another season of rare O'Neill works. This year's festival, titled "The Birth of an Artist," ends its scheduled run Sept. 12.
The fest led off with O'Neill's first produced play, Bound East for Cardiff (the play premiered at the very same space in 1916). The season also included the first stagings of several other early works, including: Servitude, The Personal Equation, and one acts: The Sniper, Abortion and The Movie Man.
The season is part of the theatre's chronological exploration into O'Neill's complete body of work. The festival plans on staging all of O'Neill's plays as workshops and full productions well into the next decade.
The remaining schedule is as follows:
Aug. 31 - Sept. 12, The Personal Equation
Being performed before each performance is "The Eugene O'Neill Ragtime Revue," which features popular songs used by O'Neill in 37 of his 49 plays.
The Provincetown Players were a group of American actors and playwrights founded in 1916 whose productions included the works of O'Neill and Susan Glaspell. The company spent their first season in Providence, RI, and then moved to the Playwrights' Theatre in NY's Greenwich Village (although they continued to do their summer plays in Providence). In 1918 they moved from the Playwrights' Theatre to another building on the same block -- a former stable that was thereafter known as the Provincetown Playhouse. In 1929 the Provincetown Players disbanded, but over the years the Playhouse has been home to diverse troupes and productions. NYU now owns the building, which is going to be used for the theatrical education of children and teens. The Dramatic Writing Program will be using the Playhouse in mid-October for its "T-Minus-10" reading series.
For tickets and information on the O'Neill plays call (212) 998-5801.
-- By David Lefkowitz & Sean McGrath