The Iceman Cometh
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"Spellbinding--soaring theater--. For reasons that remain mysterious, it seems especially moving today."--The New York Times
Eugene O'Neill mined the tragedies of his own life for this depiction of a seedy, skid row saloon in 1912, peopled by society's failures: worn-out anarchists, failed con artists, drifters, whores, pimps, and informers. The pipe-dreaming drunks of Harry Hope's bar numb themselves with rotgut gin and make grandiose plans, while waiting for the annual appearance of the big-spending, fast-talking salesman, Hickey. But this year's visit fails to bring the expected good times, as a changed Hickey tries to rouse the barflies from their soothing stupor with a proselytizing message of salvation through self-knowledge.
Considered by many to be the Nobel Prize-winning playwright's finest work, The Iceman Cometh exposes the human need for illusion as an antidote to despair. The recent gripping, critically acclaimed Broadway production, starring Kevin Spacey, has highlighted anew the subversive genius of O'Neill's play.
enthusiastic chorus of "Here's how, Harry!" "Here's luck, Harry!" etc., and gulp half the wine down, Hickey leading them in this.) HOPE--(deeply moved--his voice husky) Bejees, thanks, all of you. Bejees, Hickey, you old son of a bitch, that's white of you! Bejees, I know you meant it, too. HICKEY--(moved) Of course I meant it, Harry, old friend! And I mean it when I say I hope today will be the biggest day in your life, and in the lives of everyone here, the beginning of a new life
got a hell of a grouch on! Bejees, you know you're all as welcome here as the flowers in May! (They look at him with eager forgiveness. Rocky is the first one who can voice it.) ROCKY--Aw, sure, Boss, you're always aces wid us, see? HICKEY--(rises to his feet again. He addresses them now with the simple, convincing sincerity of one making a confession of which he is genuinely ashamed.) Listen, everybody! I know you are sick of my gabbing, but I think this is the spot where I owe it to
she knows I was the one who sold-- LARRY--Shut up, damn you! PARRITT--It'll kill her. And I'm sure she knows it must have been me. (suddenly with desperate urgency) But I never thought the cops would get her! You've got to believe that! You've got to see what my only reason was! I'll admit what I told you last night was a lie--that bunk about getting patriotic and my duty to my country. But here's the true reason, Larry--the only reason! It was just for money! I got stuck on a whore
to me. Didn't mean anything. But I'd know what it meant to Evelyn. So I'd say to myself, never again. But you know how it is, traveling around. The damned hotel rooms. I'd get seeing things in the wall paper. I'd get bored as hell. Lonely and homesick. But at the same time sick of home. I'd feel free and I'd want to celebrate a little. I never drank on the job, so it had to be dames. Any tart. What I'd want was some tramp I could be myself with without being ashamed--someone I could tell a
on.) He'll get Matteawan. He ain't responsible. What he's pulled don't mean nuttin'. So forget dat whore stuff. I'll knock de block off anyone calls you whores! I'll fill de bastard full of lead! Yuh're tarts, and what de hell of it? Yuh're as good as anyone! So forget it, see? (They let him get his arms around them now. He gives them a hug. All the truculence leaves their faces. They smile and exchange maternally amused glances.) MARGIE--(with a wink) Our little bartender, ain't he,