by Eugene OíNeill
American Theatre of Actors
Sergeant Theatre, 4th Floor
314 W 54th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues)
October 1-10, 2009
Directed by Aaron Gonzalez
Set Design CLAIRE KAROFF
Lighting Design RUS SNELLING
Projection Design AARON GONZALEZ
Stage Manager KIERSTEN ARMSTRONG
Press Rep SCOTTI RHODES
David Tawil and Dean Negri
Eugene OíNeillís, short, two-character play called HUGHIE is making a brief appearance at the American Theatre of Actors this month. This latest revival, rather than being a star vehicle, is being staged in the cozy, no-frills Sergeant Theatre in a spare production.
Featuring David Tawil as the legend-in-his-own-mind, Erie Smith, and Dean Negri as a fantasizing hotel night clerk, Charlie Hughes, this incarnation paints Erie as desperate and Charlie as disinterested almost to the point of disengaging the audience as well.
In these times of doing more with less, set designer Claire Karoff presents some set pieces, most notably the implied framework of a revolving door and elevator bank, that highlight the impoverished reality just underneath the big talk and grandiosity presented by Erie, a man desperately revisiting the glory of his past, wearing a suit that doesnít quite fit, and still hoping that the real sucker is someone besides himself.
The strengths of OíNeillís HUGHIE do resonate despite the flaws. After all, this is essentilly a play about despair and indifference that leads to a brief moment of understanding, and here the two actors do achieve some common ground in the final moments. Definitely, a curiosity, if nothing else.
- Kessa De Santis -