Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s ambitious ensemble piece The Iceman Cometh opens tomorrow night and runs through November 24. A Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, O’Neill wrote this play based in part on people from his past, and said this when the monumental piece was first staged:
I knew ‘em all. I’ve known ‘em all for years. All these people I’ve written about I once knew. I do not think you can write anything of value or understanding about the present. You can only write about life if it is far enough in the past. The present is too much mixed up with the superficial values; you can’t know which thing is important and which is not.
The past which I have chosen in The Iceman Cometh is one I knew. The man who owns this saloon, Harry Hope, and all the others — the Anarchists and Wobblies and French Syndicalists, the broken men, the tarts, the bartenders and even the saloon itself — are real.
It’s not just one place perhaps, but it is several places that I lived in at one time or another — places I knew, put together in one.
What have I done with this setting? Well, I’ve tried to show the inmates of Harry Hope’s saloon there with their dreams. Some, you see, have just enough money from home to keep them going; but most of ‘em keep from starving with the aid of the free lunch. This old Tammany politician who runs the place lives with his dreams, too, and he loves these people for he is one of them in his way.
You ask, what is the significance, what do these people mean to us today? Well, all I can say is that it is a play about pipe dreams. And the philosophy is that there is always one dream left, one final dream, no matter how low you have fallen, down there at the bottom of the bottle.
I know because I saw it.
Quotidian Theatre Company presents
The Iceman Cometh
by Eugene O’Neill
Oct 25 – Nov 24, 2013
Featuring Steve Beall, Matt Boliek, Frank Britton, Danny Brooks, John Decker, Tiffany Garfinkle, Genevieve James, Carolyn Kashner, Steve LaRocque, Ken Lechter, Brian McDermott, Brandon Mitchell, Louis Pangaro, Manolo Santalla, Ted Schneider, Chris Stinson, Christian Sullivan, and Frank Vince.
Director: Michael Avolio.
Artistic Adviser: Bill Largess.
Stage Manager: Christine Alexander.
Show times are 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 2pm Sundays, with one additional 2pm performance on Saturday, November 23.
Tickets are $30, or $25 for seniors and students, and can be purchased by cash or check at the door, online at Brown Paper Tickets, or by phone at 1-800-838-3006 ext 1 (ask for Quotidian Theatre Company). $15 per ticket for groups of 10 or more (email for reservations). Subscribers, email QTC or call 301-816-1023 for reservations.
All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD.
The venue is a short walk from the Bethesda Metro Station. There is free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.