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Mourning Becomes Electra

Members say: Ambitious, Profound, Absorbing, Masterful, Epic
74
Critics
69
11 reviews
Members
82
8 reviews
 

Target Margin Theater presents a new staging of Eugene O’Neill’s trilogy. Equal parts Greek tragedy, family drama, and history play, O'Neill's work mashes myth, Freudian psychology, and melodrama into a six-hour epic.

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Love, race, money, and war: Eugene O’Neill sought to capture the essence of our country in 'Mourning Becomes Electra.' Each of the three plays that comprise 'Mourning' will be staged in a different part of the Abrons Playhouse, with the audience served a vegan pu-pu platter to nosh on as they move between spaces.

 

Cast & Creatives (12)


Reviews (19)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
69
Avg Score

90
The New York Times

“I didn’t check my watch once in the five hours of David Herskovits’s bold, astringent revival…A lucid and astonishingly intimate production, which makes a strong case for the enduring fascination of the Mannons of New England…This remarkably fluid production is faithful to O’Neill’s text while relentlessly questioning it...The surprising result is both Kabuki soap opera and vivid clarity: an interpretation of this play that feels alive right now.” Full Review

45
Theatermania

“Innovative staging and strong performances bolster this experimental production, but several awkward directorial choices muddle the execution and make this pared-down version of the work a wobbly, lugubrious affair…Some of these experiments can be exciting...Other stagey theatrics pepper some serious scenes with unintended comedy and make us wonder whether we're witnessing a parody of O'Neill's work…The actors...often appear to be buckling under the weight of Herskovits' vision." Full Review

80
Time Out New York

"Arch, seriously clever and very, very long...It’s a series of design and staging coups; for this alone, people (with long attention spans) should see it...Herskovits carefully amplifies that insistence by forcing us into increasing proximity with it. It’s a smart way to build the event—and although it’s not actually a flattering approach to the play, it showcases the company gorgeously...Ultimately, 'Electra' is Wong’s show. She’s great." Full Review

45
The Huffington Post

"They employ every avant-garde trick in the book...Here, I fear, they remained resolutely random and without impact...When these sorts of gambits are done well, you don’t question them—they have a ritualistic power...Instead, all we saw was a mad, silly scramble...The frustrating fact was that when the actual drama hove into view, I was eager to hear more...Despite all the demands and distractions, the cast for the most part acquitted themselves well...An ambitious but confused effort." Full Review

75
Theatre is Easy

"If you're tickled by experimental theatre more than narrative, you're in for a treat. But If you're looking for a more naturalistic staging of the play, there are a few things to be aware of: While faithful to the text, this is nevertheless an odd production, and it is stylized in some perplexing ways...It's possible to have one too many high-concept elements...All things considered, 'Mourning Becomes Electra' is a satisfying experience. Each of the actors gives a breathtaking performance." Full Review

80
Theater Pizzazz

“Eunice Wong delivers a raw performance as Lavinia Mannon. Her use of mask is exceptional, and every word she speaks emerges from a deep, visceral place…If the jarring nature of the stage picture leaves you baffled, the consistent quality of the delivery of language will keep you impressed by the depth of O’Neill’s understanding, and the fresh ability of Target Margin to keep theater and theater-making relevant and compelling.” Full Review

30
Exeunt Magazine

"A style that can best be described as a parody of a bad soap opera...All of Target Margin’s peculiar choices seem purposeful. But rather than elucidating 'real truths' in O’Neill’s script, the production proves heavy-handed and overwrought...Expressionism falters and crumbles over the course of more than five hours, and we are left wondering why these people seem so distant and inaccessible." Full Review

85
Stage Buddy

“The marathon production peels back the layers of this immense trilogy with dynamism, humor, and a dinner break…Through distance, sound and space, Target Margin keeps the marathon moving forward without feeling like a scourge…The production, directed by David Herskovits, boasts an incredible performance from the Target Margin ensemble…Suffice it to say that 'Mourning Becomes Electra' will leave you digestively and existentially satisfied.” Full Review

80
Off Off Online

"The production rejects the classical interpretation of O’Neill’s trilogy, which has often proved difficult to pull off. But director Herskovits, in his progressively exhilarating realization of 'Electra,' comes close to throwing off the curse...It sinks now and then—5 hours is quite a demand on any audience—but is redeemed by the glories of the plays’ intense psychodrama...Any imbalance in the visual delicacy of O’Neill’s stagecraft is compensated for by sublime acting...Must-watch production." Full Review

75
New York Theatre Review

“While this is not quite a naturalistic production, it is also not quite expressionistic, but lies somewhere between the two, somewhat thematically over-cooked while still showcasing a very capable retelling of a rarely tackled epic…Performances are strong amongst the Mannons…'Mourning Becomes Electra' offers much food for thought, and Target Margin’s production seems to invite its audience past a simple understanding of the story.” Full Review

90
Phindie

“It is as disorienting as landing in a foreign country and hearing a new language for the first time with no translator in sight…I didn’t just see the Mannons; I was in the fucking house right up to the final second of this five-hour production. I really don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say: Thanks to the self-proclaimed 'Mic Demon,' sound designer Matthew Good, I heard the furies that thrash around that old big Mannon house loud and clear.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
82
Avg Score

79
Ambitious, Profound, Slow, Intellectual, Risky

See it if you have a tolerance for lengthy drama and a taste for the primordial. Or you want the chance to see a rare O'Neill epic (in the true sense)

Don't see it if you don't have a tolerance for avantgarde experimentalism, bizarre acting, or shifting perspectives on great-if-dated text.

Also I thought I would either love or hate this show, and it ended up being... Read more Read less

70
Ambitious, Edgy, Indulgent, Great writing, Experimental

See it if you want deep takes on Eugene O'Neill. The move from the balcony to the stage parallels the intensifying experience of the central character

Don't see it if you aren't able to stay focused for five hours or expecting a traditional production.

90
Dark, Absorbing, Epic, Profound, Haunting

See it if Crimes, curses, guilt, longing, jealousy and hatred pass through the generations destroying a family. Riveting staging of the finale.

Don't see it if The first segment of the trilogy (2 hours out of 6) is a bit slow and distant. The intensity picks up from there.

Also By the end, the audience was blown away.

78
Clear, Academic

See it if You are a serious theater person, a minor in O'Neill, ready to spend 5 quick hours fixated on this severe & mannered postmodern presentation

Don't see it if You aren't willing to eat your spinach, though it is good for you. While this keeps your attention & gathers power, it gives faint pleasure.

78
Ambitious, Intelligent, Inconsistent, Demanding, Spectacular acting

See it if you want to see rarely staged O'Neill, avant garde staging, and impressive design & performances. When upclose & personal, it's riveting

Don't see it if you're short on time & long on tradition. When distancing, seeming to mock O'Neill's condescension & affection for melodrama, it's wearying.

84
Absorbing, Ambitious, Event filled

See it if U like O’Neill, stylized & creative acting & direction, VERY different theater experience, long plays well worth your time/ PLUS U R FED!

Don't see it if DONT LIKE LONG PLAYS/ are NOT willing to go with the flow. YES you are part of the show.. and travel with it.

95
Great acting, Masterful, Profound

See it if you want to see this rarely performed O'Neill play by a superb experimental theater company. Terrific acting and staging but pace yourself

Don't see it if you hate long long plays and don't care for experimental theater.

95
During previews
Epic, Thought-provoking, Masterful

See it if You want to experience a show that will stay with you with extraordinary performances and a great story.

Don't see it if You have a hard time with very long shows. It is a marathon.