Eugene O’Neill fifty years on: A tribute at HAU

Fifty years after his death, American playwright Eugene O’Neill’s works still play to full houses. The National Theater of Greece is staging his «Long Day’s Journey into Night» at the Kappa Theater, and a major tribute to him at the Hellenic American Union comprises an exhibition and screenings of filmed versions of his plays. Yiannis Iordanidis, director of the National Theater production, curated the exhibition. First editions of O’Neill’s plays in Greek translation are on display with photographs and programs from great Greek performances of his work, dating back to the Veakis/Paxinou/Minotis production of «Anna Christie» in 1930. Many big names of the Greek theater acted in plays by O’Neill: Alexis Minotis, Katina Paxinou (who also translated his work), Dimitris Horn, Petros Fyssoun, Eleni Hatziargyri and Karolos Koun are among those recorded here. And there are sketches for costumes and sets by designers such as Giorgos Pachtas and Yiannis Metzikoff. (Until February 21 at HAU.) Stage plays don’t always translate well to the screen, as Iordanidis told a packed auditorium Saturday, but some superb performances of O’Neill’s work are on film, and HAU showed two of the most memorable last weekend. Greta Garbo, in her first talkie, is formidable as Anna Christie in the 1930 film of the same name and Marie Dressler is delightful as the aging prostitute. Ingrid Bergman, Ralph Richardson, Dean Stockwell and Jason Robards Jr are impeccable in «Long Day’s Journey into Night» (1962) directed by Sidney Lumet, which will be screened on Sunday. More is in store with «Desire Under the Elms» (1958) on February 1 and «Mourning Becomes Electra» (1947), with a star cast including Katina Paxinou on February 2 at 8 p.m. Iordanidis and Theodoros Adamopoulos of the Greek Film Archive briefly introduce the films. The tribute is under the aegis of the American Embassy and the screenings are in cooperation with the Greek Film Archive. Information is available at tel 210.368.0000

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