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Abrons Arts Center

466 Grand St.
NYC , New York

Mourning Becomes Electra

Using Aeschylus’ “Oresteia” as a template, Eugene O’Neill begins “Mourning” just as the Civil War ends. The Mannon women — the adulterous Christine (Stephanie Weeks) and her daughter, Lavinia (Eunice Wong), who is unhealthily close to her father — await the return of their men from battle: the patriarch, Ezra (Satya Bhabha), and the wounded son, Orin (also Mr. Bhabha), who is as creepily drawn to his mother as his sister is to their father.

This being Greek tragedy, blood will flow, starting when the glamorous Christine (outfitted by Kaye Voyce in a body-hugging emerald evening gown) murders Ezra so that she can be with her lover (again Mr. Bhabha, the cast standout). This being O’Neill, emotions will get overwrought, and family history will be twisted into doom.

This deftly streamlined production ushers the audience from space to space in Abrons Arts Center’s Playhouse Theater — the lobby, the balcony, the orchestra, the stage — in a fascinating experiment in proximity: How close is too close to this play, and how far away is just far enough?

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