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Vineyard show focuses on O’Neill characters

By Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll, Cape Cod Times
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Christopher Roberts, Doria Bramante, and Maggie McCaffery portray the servants working for the Tyrone family in Ronan Noone’s “The Second Girl” Courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse

 

The centennial celebration of Eugene O’Neill’s start as a playwright is spreading: While the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival has been marking the connections between O’Neill and Williams this weekend, the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse is presenting a show about O’Neill-related characters nobody has known much about.

The final show of the season there is Ronan Noone’s “The Second Girl,” for which the setting is the world of O’Neill’s acclaimed “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” Noone’s play is about the servants in the home of the Tyrone family created by O’Neill.

This play by award-winning Noone, who is an assistant professor at Boston University, had its first public reading at the Vineyard Haven theater in 2013. “The Second Girl” premiered at the Huntington Theater in Boston in 2014, but the island show is only its third production and Vineyard artistic director M.J. Munafo says Noone has made significant changes since then – including new ones for the current run. Part of that, Noone has said in interviews, is making the tone more optimistic than was portrayed in the Huntington show.

“The Second Girl” is set in the kitchen of the home of the Tyrones (a family based on O’Neill’s) and is focused, sometimes humorously, on the struggles of two Irish servant girls and the family driver. Maid Cathleen was a minor character in “Long Day’s Journey,” but the other two don’t appear on stage in the O’Neill play.

“The Second Girl” continues at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays through Oct. 8 at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, 24 Church St., Vineyard Haven. Tickets: $50, $40 for over age 65, $30 for under age 30. Reservations and information: 508-696-6300, mvplayhouse.org

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