Eugene O’Neill’s work takes patience; the playwright often says the same things over and over in the bleakest way possible. But if you can stick it out, his insights carry a big payoff.
Robert (John Wehrman) looks forward to leaving the family farm and traveling the world at sea. But once he confesses his love for Ruth (Emily Shain), plans change and brother Andrew (Nathaniel Swift) takes his place. Subsequent years follow the brothers struggling at jobs they never wanted and failing to attain their goals.
O’Neill’s emotional shifts are not subtle; what is portrayed as a great love affair cools in a heartbeat. The ensemble conveys the (constant) longing that runs through the piece, as well as the jarring changes in direction. Director Lou Contey’s staging and Joe Schermoly’s conservative yet imaginative set offer something beautiful to look at as a sad story unfolds. (Lisa Buscani)
Eclipse Theatre Company at The Athenaeum, 2936 North Southport, (773)935-6875. Through April 22.