Watching A Eugene O'Niell Documentary
Proust teaches us that some life events are so big that they overflow into the past and present. O'Niell's plays and life show how the pervasive impact of tragic events can be transcended by great art.
"Stammering is the nature of eloquence for us fog people," his character Edmund in 'Long Day's Journey...' says.
Likewise, by confessing our defects we begin to transcend them. We learn from 'Long Day's Journey...' that by lovingly struggling with our birth family it becomes possible to embrace the human family in a universal way.
When I read it as a teenager I wasn't adequate to O'Niell's tragedy. Even Othello was just lovely verse to me back then.
The documentary presents these and other fascinating insights.
Every time - when it works - every time we go on stage, we break time. We become able to dream only when we confess our shallow theatricality. We are washed up from eternity on the beach of time; have we got the will to be shipwrecked again and again for a dream? Like Gulliver, we risk bitter disillusionment for our ideals when we sail our of harbour. Like Ishmael, we seek by pilgrimage out at sea an inner visitation with our own oceanic majesty and pomp.
O'Niell's great tragedies are such pilgrimages. Above all, it's time I reread Shakespeare's tragedies; I've been away from them long enough.