In his only “comedy,” Eugene O’Neill charts a family’s moral struggle in 1906 Connecticut. As it’s an O’Neill play, there’s a hefty helping of lost love and dreams deferred served along with the laughs—dramedy before dramedy was cool.
Richard (a petulant Alex Weisman) courts Muriel (an equally petulant Fiona Roberts) with poetic mash notes, much to the chagrin of his newspaperman father (Brian Parry). Simultaneously, family friend and professional lush Sid (Kevin Scott) courts old maid Lily (Rebecca Prescott) who loves him but can’t see past his drinking.
O’Neill’s quaint morality creaks; it’s difficult for a modern-day audience to see the cost of the characters’ indiscretions. Weisman’s romantic teen wrings the giggles out of the script but the humor struggles against the melodrama. Scott’s good-time Sid doesn’t integrate the sadness of his addictions into the light-hearted hijinks around him. It’s an uneven look at a vanished time. (Lisa Buscani)
Eclipse Theatre Company at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 North Southport, (773)935-6875. Through September 2. (Half-Priced Tickets)