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.
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