(Above – Terrell Wheeler and Emily Bennett)

The Metropolitan’s double bill opened last night, 6/10–a must see. Patty

Metropolitan Playhouse performs two extremely rare Eugene O’Neill plays that were never staged during his lifetime, and rarely since then.  Recklessness and Now I Ask You were written during O’Neill’s first summer in Providencetown in 1916, and both have a similar theme of women trying to break out of the rigid roles that society has proscribed for them.  Kelly King is outstanding as the wealthy Arthur Baldwin, who extracts revenge on his much younger wife’s straying.  While the play may be viewed as a tragedy, it’s also wildly satirical and the way that King plays the part, it’s almost a comedy.  Now I Ask You features race neutral casting, that has the effect of updating a play set in 1916 among the Gramercy Park set.  Terrell Wheeler as Tom Drayton and Emily Bennett, his love interest, Lucy Ashleigh, spar in a convoluted plot, while disguising their love.  Terrell told me, “It’s my first time performing at Metropolitan, and I felt very relaxed here from the first preview on.  Normally. I perform contemporary plays or Shakespeare, so this was my first revival and I found it very stimulating.” Metropolitan’s artistic director, Alex Roe, directed, masterfully, and said, “I found these two rare O’Neill plays listed on their website.  Now I Ask You was never finished to O’Neill’s liking, and he handed it to his second wife to work on, but she just let it sit around, and the play was more or less forgotten.” Fortunately, both plays surface with wonderful revivals that reveal another facet of O’Neill’s talent.

© 2016 b Patricia N. Saffran. All rights reserved.

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