The Hairy Ape is a 1922 expressionist play by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. It is about a brutish, unthinking laborer known as Yank, the protagonist of the play, as he searches for a sense of belonging in a world controlled by the rich.
Location: the Alchemical Studios, Lab Theater - 104 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor
Yank, a brutish stoker on board a freighter, is appalled when Mildred Douglas, a society girl forced by circumstance to travel as a passenger, visits the stokehold and recoils at the filthy, sweating Yank. A powerhouse of a man with a primitive confidence, Yank has never been looked down on before nor suffered the insult "hairy ape" flung at him by the rich girl. At first he seeks vengeance for the insult, but broods over it until more than anything, he desires to understand it. When the ship reaches port, he seeks her out in her upper class surroundings, determined to grasp the meaning of the encounter. In a fight for social belonging, Yank's mental state disintegrates into animalistic, and in the end he is defeated by an ape in which Yank's character has been reflected. THE HAIRY APE is a portrayal of the impact industrialization and social class has on the workers.
Schedule - What is TSP Unplugged?
This is a part of our TSP Unplugged Reading Series, where audiences go behind the scenes with The Seeing Place to experience our work "unplugged." We'll start at 7:30pm with the audience observing our artists discussing the play in their final rehearsal, laying the ground-work for how the actors will approach the piece during the reading. At 8pm we'll begin the reading. Immediately following the reading we'll discuss what was seen - what is the modern relevance of the play? What would a theater company want to consider if producing the play as a ful production? These and other questions will be explored during this lively talkback.
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CAST and CREATIVE TEAM (in alphabetical order):
YANK - Brandon Walker*
PADDY - Rusty Flounders
LONG - Jared Mason Murray*
AUNT/WOMAN - Donna Cooper*
MILDRED - Sabrina Schlegel-Mejia
VOICE/VOICE 1, GENTLEMAN, SECRETARY - Ajinkya Desai*
VOICE 2, SECOND ENGINEER , GUARD, MAN, POLICEMAN - Christopher Marshall
STAGE DIRECTIONS - Olivia Marr and Rachel Heide
* = members of Actors' Equity Association
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Reviews and Articles for Previous Productions of THE HAIRY APE:
“...the play (subtitled "A Comedy of Ancient and Modern Life in Eight Scenes") offers a portrait of the working man in the industrial age, his muscle used to fatten the coffers of the wealthy, his mind dismissed as primitive, more simian even than human.” - Los Angeles Times
“Writing from inside Yank’s deepest desires, dreams, and innocence, O’Neill created one of his more densely and poetically conceived scripts, about a world where language and the body confuse one another, and end up cancelling each other out.” - The New Yorker
“A classic story of alienation about a man who finds he has more in common with a gorilla than he does with the human race.” - The Guardian
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