Palm Beach Dramaworks cast, set excel in 'Moon for the Misbegotten'
A Moon for the Misbegotten isn't only about Josie Hogan, a self-described lump of a woman who pretends to be a slut while concealing her virginity and her love for a hopeless man. But she's the one you'll care about at the end of Palm Beach Dramaworks' well-honed production of the Eugene O'Neill classic. Kati Brazda's seemingly spontaneous portrayal of Josie, who finds love and loses it in a single moonlit evening, sears itself in memory like a brand. William Hayes' firm direction grounds the show in naturalism, allowing the characters' motives and emotions to be exposed gradually. The jocular first act gives way to a turbulent middle, which yields to a conclusion that's both sad and satisfying. Hayes also brings out the beauty of O'Neill's language, without sacrificing its conversational tone... Peter Haig gives one of his finest performances as Josie's father, Phil Hogan, a wily tenant farmer who loves his daughter dearly and won't be pushed around by the gentry. Todd Allen Durkin plays James Tyrone, an alcoholic actor so bruised he cannot properly reciprocate Josie's love, much as he might like to. ...Durkin looks the part -the city slicker in his suit and moustache, thanks in part to Leslye Menshouse's spot-on costumes. ...it's no small task to make a cry-baby like Tyrone sympathetic. Durkin rises to the challenge in the poignant ending. Michael Amico outdoes himself in the set design, re-creating the Hogans' shanty in weatherbeaten wood on Dramaworks' small stage, and making it seem as though the farm's rocky fields were right around the corner. Dramaworks deserves praise for bringing one of the milestones of American theater effectively to the stage and casting it so superbly with Brazda.