Anna Christie

Definition

Theater

  • A tragicomedy by Eugene O'Neill, about a fallen woman redeemed by love. The play opened on Broadway in 1921 and earned its author the Pulitzer Prizefor Drama; later that year it was seen in London with the original Anna, Pauline Lord, in the title role. It was later made into a film starring Greta Garbo. In 1979 The Royal Shakespeare Company staged an excellent revival at the WarehouseTheatre with Susan Tracy as Anna. There have also been Broadway revivals starringLiv Ullmann (1977) and Natasha Richardson (1993).

    O'Neill probably derived the story from Theodore Dreiser's novel Sister Carrie (1900). The play begins with Anna, a prostitute, searching for her estranged father, a seaman, on the New York docks. She finds that he is in charge of a coastal barge and accepts his invitation to move in, keeping her past a secret.Later they save the lives of five sailors and Anna falls in love with one, a loud Irishman named Mat Burke. She refuses Mat's proposal of marriage and confesses herpast to him and her father. Mat comes to the barge meaning to kill Anna but insteadoffers to marry her. The happy ending has come in for much criticism.

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