THE CLASSICS THEATRE PROJECT has been garnering attention and acclaim for its mounting of a rarely seen masterpiece from one of America's greatest playwrights. The company's new adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's THE HAIRY APE: A COMEDY OF ANCIENT AND MODERN LIFE IN EIGHT SCENES opened last week at The Core Theatre in Richardson and has been drawing in audience and media from around DFW to see this provocative and unique work of expressionism. Complete with an original score performed live, the ensemble of actors takes on Eugene O'Neill's examination of the rags-to-riches mythology of America and the effects of alienation in the modern world.
Considered explosive and revolutionary in 1922, Eugene O'Neill's blending of expressionism and naturalism in THE HAIRY APE went on to stay at the core of the then developing style of American theatre. Through his simplification of characters and events in the play, its deeper truths about the search for self-worth, self-pride, and social belonging take center stage. In THE HAIRY APE, through eight scenes, the story unfolds of anti-hero Yank, a strong and unthinking stoker on a ship. He feels secure of his place and in his power to make the ship move until he is called a filthy beast by the overbred daughter of a steel merchant. Yank experiences an awakening of consciousness that leads him off his ship and on a journey through both the wealthy neighborhoods and disenfranchised underbelly of New York, only to find he does not belong anywhere – not with the socialites on 5th Avenue, or the laborers on the waterfront. Throughout his search for belonging, Yank only experiences the dehumanizing effects of a modernized and industrialized world as his mental state disintegrates into its most primal until, ultimately, he is defeated by the very thing inside himself he had been fighting all along, a filthy ape.
This achingly relevant story, and raw and gripping style of storytelling had opening weekend audiences and critics enthralled at experiencing this classic. The production continues to run Thursdays-Saturdays through November 6th. In keeping with their mission of making the classics accessible to all, the non-profit THE CLASSICS THEATRE PROJECT keeps ticket pricing low, at only $18 per ticket. Learn more and purchase tickets at theclassicstheatreproject.com