For Dennehy, this acting opportunity furthers his drive to create a body of stage work he can be proud of. Audiences in New York and Chicago have seen him in revivals of many classic plays, while others know him for his work in films such as "Presumed Innocent," and "Rambo." "To me, there's nothing better than working in a great play," he says.
The social dynamic of O'Neill's Long Day's Journeyinto Night is to be found in the formative community O'Neill givesus--the family. It is not a new thematic setting in literature: writers asdiverse as Tolstoy, who in his magnum opus War and Peace concludes thatremarkable work with a plea for the social unit of the family as the idealsocial community of cohesion; Dostoevsky, who permits even Raskolnikov inCrime and Punishment--an otherwise egocentric, individually mindedcharacter--to worry over his actions as they relate to his mother and sister;classical works such as Oedipus and Antigone, which speak eloquently to thedisruptive influences external forces can have on the webs of family; andcontemporary American authors from Louise Erdrich, whose sprawlingNative/white intermixing in her reservation sagas from The Last Report on theMiracles at Little No Horse, to her more recent The Plague of Doves, to LarryWoiwode's multigenerational family works characterized by Beyond theBedroom Wall and Born Brothers, have each located their central theme withinthe social community of family.
This is a common theme with variations in the play. Theback-and-forth indirect communications which speak to need--fromTyrone's "I'm glad you've come, lad. I've beendamned lonely," to obscure references to Mary's addiction andcondition, to the stage direction for the transformation to resentfully.Similarly, the structural battle for authority between father and son overthe issue of electricity and the number of bulbs used; biographical insofaras Tyrone is of the old world: tight-fisted, wary of poverty, in love--muchto his overall financial (in)solvency--with the notion of land. Thefather's sense of the son's unappreciative comprehension of cost,and inherent in that the real world of work, bills, long hours, the list goeson. It is a classic theme, and speaks to the love, the emotional need forothers, that each of the Tyrones requires through negative affirmation,indirect communication, and isolation within oneself. Kierkegaard warns ofthe dangers inherent where love is genuine, but the methods by which it iscommunicated and understood are contaminated by a transactional methodologyof finitude. He notes, in response to I John 4.20, (3) "How deeply theneed for love is grounded in the nature of man!" (153), but Kierkegaardfurther remarks, "and yet men very often find escapes in order toavoid--this happiness; therefore they manufacture deceptions--in order todeceive themselves or make themselves unhappy [...] to grumble about theworld and its unhappiness is always easier than to beat one's breast andgroan over oneself" (155). In short, it is an escape outside of oneself;an avoidance of existential inwardness, an act of distancing from others.Edmund does not wish to admit to Tyrone that he isn't sober, anymorethan Tyrone wishes to acknowledge that he too has been hitting the bottle!Neither is capable of seeing into his own self, his own inability torecognize that not only does he exist as an individual I, but that he hasfailed to take ownership of that self from which he enters into hisparticular community; instead, the easier, but unfortunate route is taken:the disruption of self recognition into an object outside of oneself--namely,the other's drunkenness. And yet, it is exactly this displacementoutside of oneself that negates the possibility of love as infinite, as trulyloving. 781b155fdc