Ah! Wilderness

Definition

Theater

  • An uncharacteristic play by Eugene O'Neill, beinga nostalgic comedy about his youth (later depicted so bitterly inLong Day's Journey into Night). The plot follows 17-year-oldRichard Miller during his two-day passage to manhood in a local bar.The play opened on Broadway in 1933 with Elisha Cook Jr as Richard andthe veteran vaudeville star George M. Cohan as Richard's father,Nat. Despite receiving an overwhelming ovation and rave reviews, Cohan scowled and groaned, "Imagine my reciting lines by Eugene O'Neill! Why, he ought to be on the stage reciting lines by me!"

    O'Neill's plays were generally thought too long and he foughtto keep every minute. When the curtain fell on one early performanceof Ah! Wilderness, the stage hands demanded overtime. Aftermuch persuasion, O'Neill delighted the management by agreeing to trim10 minutes; however, this turned out to be a 10-minute intermission.

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