Eugene O’Neill, Brought to Life in Bright Colors

But as O’Neill himself said, explaining the mechanics of “The Hairy Ape,” making “human contact” with the audience is vital to communicating a play’s ideas. Human contact is precisely what these productions have established — probably a rarer thing than it ought to be in stagings of O’Neill.

Video

Taking a Spin With Bobby Cannavale

“The Hairy Ape” at the Park Avenue Armory uses a turntable stage that rotates around the audience and, at 140 feet in diameter, is the largest in the modern history of New York theater. In this 360 video, hop on for one of the rotations.


By TIM CHAFFEE and MAUREEN TOWEY on Publish Date April 15, 2017.


Photo by Tim Chaffee/The New York Times. Technology by Samsung. .

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Credit serendipity for this confluence of productions; there’s no coordinated effort, no big anniversary to mark. If there were, O’Neill’s greatest hits would probably be first in line: star magnets like “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which Jessica Lange and Gabriel Byrne did on Broadway just last year, and “The Iceman Cometh,” seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2015 with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy. This spring’s batch is from deeper in the catalog.

Mr. O’Reilly, who originally mounted “Emperor Jones” in 2009, only thought to revive it after last fall’s presidential election. The play’s central character, an African-American named Brutus Jones, is the ruler of a Caribbean island, where he boasts of having fooled the population with empty talk, of being above the law, of planning to milk power for riches. Utterly corrupt, he is also, in his way, a classic…

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