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Supplementary Study Guide

Compiled by the Arden Theatre Company Education Department

By Alan Bennett Directed by Terrence J. Nolen Grace Gonglewski as Josie and Eric Hissom as Jamie. Photo by Mark Garvin

TABLE OF CONTENTS About The Play: .....................................................................Page 2 Cast Production History Play Synopsis...........................................................................Page 3 History and Context: .............................................................Page 7 Tenant Farming and Irish Immigrants T. Stedman Harder’s Ice Pond The Playwright: ......................................................................Page 8 About Eugene O’Neill The Works of Eugene O’Neill Glossary....................................................................................Page 9 Our Production:.....................................................................Page 11 Creative Team and Scenic Design Costume Design Discussion and Reflection...................................................Page 13 Classroom Activities Discussion Questions

A Moon for the Misbegotten By Eugene O’Neill

Directed by Matt Pfeiffer on the Arcadia Stage January 6-February 27, 2011



James Tyrone, Jr. ERIC HISSOM



T. Stedman Harder ALLEN RADWAY

Read the actors’ bios online at:

PRODUCTION HISTORY In 1947, A Moon for the Misbegotten had its world premiere at the Hartman Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. It went on to be produced five times on Broadway with the first production opening on 1957. It ran 68 performances at the Bijou Theatre, which is now defunct. Cyril Cusack, Franchot Tone, and Wendy Hiller were included in the cast. In the late 1960’s Salome Jens appeared as Josie in an Off –Broadway revival that received good reviews. Directed by José Quintero, the first Broadway revival, opened on December 29, 1973 at the Morosco Theatre. Running for 313 performances, Colleen Dewhurst won a Tony Award for her performance. The cast also included Jason Robards and Ed Flanders. Two years later, in a television production, Quintero, Robards, and Flanders reprised their roles, which garnered five Emmy Award nominations. Ed Flanders won. The second revival, directed by David Leveaux, opened on May 1, 1984 at the Cort Theatre. Ian Bannen, Jerome Kilty, and Kate Nelligan rounded out the cast for 40 performances. In March 2000, Daniel Sullivan direct the third revival at the Walter Kerr Theatre. This cast included Gabriel Byrne, Roy Dotrice, and Cherry Jones and ran for 120 performances. Kevin Spacey starred in the fourth revival, which began in London at the Old Vic Theatre in 2006 before moving to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway in March 2007. The cast also featured Eve Best, Billy Carter, Colm Meaney, and Eugene O’Hare.

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PLAY SYNOPSIS Warning: Spoilers!


At the top of the play, we find Josie Hogan and her brother, Mike, discussing his escape from the farm run by their harsh father, Phil. Mike has slipped away during work and—like his two older brothers before—is now running from the farm as quickly and with as little as possible. Seeing as she is the only one capable of truly dealing with her father, Josie aids Mike in his escape even though he takes this last conversation to once again condemn her loose morals—morals he implies were learned from their insufferable father. Josie can only take so much of his ‘virtuous’ talk and pushes him away with more force before their father realizes he is gone. Just as Hogan begins to make his way to them, Josie sees that Mike has slinked away like the “little boy [he] used to be.” Infuriated Hogan storms to Josie and begins to demand where Mike has gone. Hiding nothing from her father, Josie answers point blank that she has helped him to escape her fathers ruthless “slave-driving” like her two other brothers before him. After admitting that she has given Mike some of her father’s money as well, Hogan threatens her briefly before Josie spits it right back at him with just as much force. In the first of many telling interactions between Josie and her father, their talk turns from argument to one where they agree on the ineptitude of their entire family aside from themselves and Hogan’s late wife. Things again turn to Josie’s loose ways with the men of the town. In his own way, Hogan both condemns her behavior as well as appreciates the fact that it has allowed her to stay on with him at the farm. James Tyrone Jr. then enters the conversation as Josie recounts to her father the scheme Mike had suggested before heading off. He proposed that Josie and their father entrap Tyrone by having Josie sleep with him. Hogan would then catch him the morning after in bed with Josie and demand that they marry in order to live off of the money he was soon to inherit from his mother’s estate. Surprised by Mike’s cunning, Hogan begins to see the benefits in such a plan—much to Josie’s chagrin. Through promoting Tyrone’s decent nature, reminding her father that this was all Mike’s idea, and selling herself as a low and homely woman Tyrone would never agree to marry, Josie attempts to steer her father away from such a plan. But Hogan is intent on making her realize that she could reform the drunken has-been actor and that she would “learn to love the estate he’ll come into.” She still refuses, and Hogan eases off it momentarily. But Hogan isn’t done trying to push Josie along. Although Tyrone has agreed to sell the land to the Hogan’s a bit at a time once the estate goes out of probate, Hogan isn’t too sure about the promises made from a drunken man—especially now that there’s been some sort of interest in the land. Josie is sure of Tyrone’s commitment to them, but Hogan isn’t too sure how far he can trust a man perpetually drunk making promises to a variety of people under such an influence. As they finish their discussion, Tyrone appears at the end of the road. Josie notices that he has had a few drinks the night before and quickly decides she does not want to see him. She goes inside as he approaches the house. The two men begin to spit insults back and forth at each other as Josie comes back outside to greet Tyrone. Josie begins to talk about the kind of loose women Tyrone is known to run around with, but he retorts simply that she is more the kind of woman he wants. The conversation then shifts back to Tyrone’s apparent problem with alcohol. He claims medicinal reasons, but Hogan calls his bluff and begins to berate his drinking habits. In order to silence Hogan, Tyrone alludes to a special visitor that should be stopping by soon. Both Hogan and Josie are curious, and Tyrone lets them know that their neighbor and the oil heir, T. Stedman Harder, will be visiting them to discuss some issues he is having with a fence that Hogan’s pigs keep knocking down to get to Harder’s ice pond. Josie and Hogan find this hilarious and their joking eventually leads Josie to kiss Tyrone as a joke, but something passes between them in that moment. Josie, though, tries to pass over it and continues with the joking.

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A few moments later, Josie sees a couple of men making their way to the house and assumes that one is Harder. She tries to usher Tyrone away, but he wants to stay and watch so he heads into the house as Harder approaches. In typical fashion, Josie and her father begin to berate the man over his complaints of the fence. Hogan turns the complaint around and is angry that the fence isn’t strong enough to keep his pigs from traveling to the ice pond on his neighbor’s property. Eventually, Harder decides that Hogan must be drunk and decides to reason with him another day. He then leaves after threatening to involve the police next time and the three of them celebrate their victory with another drink and an offer of dinner. In the midst of all this, though, Tyrone reveals that Harder has plans to buy up the land so that he can kick the Hogan’s off and make some real money down the line. Hogan denies that this is a possibility, but Josie isn’t so easily convinced. They decide not to worry too much about the issue right now and instead head into the house for some dinner.


The second act opens with Josie waiting in more presentable clothes outside the house. She hears her father coming up the drive singing his drunken tunes. He makes to grab her, but she smacks him surely with her club and he calms down a bit. She tells him how she is fed up with his ways, but he lets her know that he is drinking and singing only to keep from crying over what he has found out at The Inn. Josie is curious, but Hogan is hesitant due to her change of tone. However, he relents and begins to insult Tyrone in spite of the fact that Josie had a date with him tonight. Josie doesn’t like this very much, but pretends to have always hated the man. After a quick show of force, Josie gets Hogan to sober up a bit and he tells her what happened between the two men at The Inn. Although the land was promised to the Hogans for two thousand, Tyrone tells Hogan that Harder has made an offer of ten thousand to buy it off of him. And what’s more, he has agreed to give Tyrone half of it even before the sale is final as a payment. With this money, Tyrone can run off back to Broadway and the lifestyle he used to love. Josie is sure that Tyrone would not accept this, but Hogan assures her that he has. Then Hogan begins to tell her how Tyrone really feels about her and that his conscious would not let him get close to her even though he wants to. He believes her to be a virgin and does not trust himself enough to keep her pure knowing the way he is. Josie is outraged and begins to plot against him with her father once she realizes that nothing official has been signed. One way or another, Josie will get him back where she can carry out Mike’s plan from earlier that day. She will get him drunk enough to seduce her and then her father will find them the next morning together. Tyrone will have no choice but to succumb to the wishes of the Hogans. And if he doesn’t—even though he won’t have really slept with Josie—Hogan will spread the word that he did and slander his good name. Satisfied with the plan, Josie preps herself as Tyrone is seen in the distance. Hogan pretends to be too drunk to have passed any of this information off to Josie so the plan can begin without suspicion. So Josie and Hogan pretend to have a huge argument that ends in Josie kicking Hogan out of the house for the night. Tyrone apologizes to Josie about being late and she accepts in order to get in his good graces. They sit together as Tyrone begins to let her in on his true feelings and his hope that this night with her could be different—that they could both just be who they are and love each other for it. Josie tries to cover her anger at Tyrone, but slips up a bit now and then. Eventually, she begins to offer him something to drink in order to move the plan along.


Tyrone seems to be in the midst of some sort of personal breakdown at the top of the act and is relieved when Josie returns with something to drink. They toss back some drinks, but Josie soon realizes that she is not as seasoned a drinker as Tyrone. They continue talking about Josie’s character—one Tyrone seems to put more stock in than Josie herself. Tyrone’s kind words encourage a few passionate kisses, but Josie quickly recoils in order to asses herself and where everything is going. Tyrone hints at something deeper bothering him, but they decide on more drinks rather than hashing it all out. Tyrone, though, thinks Josie should skip this one and even goes as far as to knock it out of her hand in disgust at what she is trying to become—another drunken tramp he’ll soon sleep with. He wants something different tonight with her and she just can’t seem to accept it. In trying to change the subject, Tyrone begins to talk about how much he truly enjoys her father in spite of some of the awful things they say to each other. Aside from Josie, Tyrone sees Hogan as his only true friend. While Tyrone wallows in his own pity, Josie admits to him that she has loved him for a

time now. As he does not truly hear her, Tyrone begins to expose the awful man he has become to her. He begins to speak of his father who he never loved and how death seems like the best option for any person still living. Josie is worried by this talk and encourages him to think and talk of other things as to not ruin their moonlit night together. They instead return to his trip back to Broadway. He wonders how she knew about it and through this she realizes that she was misinformed by her father about nearly everything. In fact, there was a celebration at The Inn that night in honor of the estate finally getting out of probate so that Hogan could finally pay Tyrone for it. Tyrone did agree to let Harder take it for ten thousand, but intended to trick him the next morning by saying that it had already been spoken for by the Hogans just to get at him. Hogan must have misunderstood and stormed out before understanding fully what was going on. Josie is sure that Tyrone is telling the truth and is much happier than when the night started out. She becomes less so, though, when Tyrone begins to tell her that he has figured out her act with all the men she says that she sleeps with. He informs her that her father knows of the act as well and let’s her know the trouble she’s put him in with her “brazen-trollop act.” Although she tries to deny it, in the end she does admit to being a virgin against all gossip and self-proclaiming to the contrary. In the torrent of emotions, Tyrone makes to push himself onto Josie, but she stops him before he gets very far. Both of them are reeling from this and unsure how to see each other as Tyrone requests another drink. After this drink, he decides that he should leave for good. He wanted tonight to be something different, but it seems that Josie just wanted it to be another typical night for him. He is upset by this and wants to leave before either them grows to hate the other because of what has transpired this night. Josie understands his struggle, apologizes and makes to bring him back to her to wait out the night together. She cradles him again as he once more lapses into self loathing. This time, though, Josie encourages him to talk to her about his mother and this blonde on the train he has mentioned several times. His mother’s illness and eventual death led him to drink so as not to feel anything. He was numb at his mother’s funeral, but put on a show for other around. After this, he couldn’t stand himself and began to live a life of perpetual drunkenness in the hopes that he would just die and not have to deal with the pain of living anymore. On the train that transported his dead mother home, Tyrone admits to Josie that he slept with a whore every night—hoping that she would help him to forget what was in the car ahead of him. Tyrone tries to leave once more, but Josie assures him that he is welcome to stay and she forgives him for what he did. She also assures him that she is sure his mother forgives him as well. She is touched that he would disclose this to her and grows to love him more because of it.


The sun is rising at the top of this act as Hogan comes upon Tyrone still asleep in Josie’s lap. She lashes out at him for lying to her and pushing her into a scheme she really wanted no part of in the first place. He denies these accusations and pushes Josie to tell what has happened over the night. She replies simply that the previous night has helped her to see the real man her father is—a liar that wants nothing more than to steal as much money as possible no matter who is hurt in the process. Hogan is vehement about his denial of these claims, but Josie doesn’t want to hear it and she tells him to get in the house until Tyrone leaves. She doesn’t want him poisoning any one else’s minds with his lies and schemes. He relents and enters into the house. Tyrone begins to wake and thinks that he must be in the arms of some ‘dime a dozen’ woman again. But he finally wakes up fully and sees that it is Josie’s arms that he finds himself in. Tyrone begins to remember how awful he was last night and is shocked that Josie took care of him until morning. She writes it off as nothing, but he is truly grateful and reminds her that much of what he said last night he meant. He also speaks to her about how different he feels this morning compared to the other mornings of similar goings on, but with different women. Trying to gloss over this statement, Josie encourages Tyrone to head back to The Inn while she begins her daily work. As Tyrone swigs the bourbon given to him by Josie, everything from the night before comes rushing back to him. He attempts to keep his composure as he begins to leave, but Josie stops him. She says that they can’t see each other again as it would be the best for both of them, but that she was proud to have been loved by him and she would be happy to give that love back if things were different. Tyrone tries to deny one more time, but eventually gives in as they kiss for the final time. Tyrone walks off as Josie buries her head and sobs. Her father exits the house to tell her that he was scheming, but only to get them to fall in love and be with one another—something he has seen they’ve both wanted for a while now. Josie accepts this as the truth, but tells him that it can never be now. Hogan goes back inside to be ready for breakfast as Josie takes one more look down the road.

TENANT FARMING AND IRISH IMMIGRANTS from the McCarter Theatre, adapted from Long Wharf Theatre

Between the early 1800s and the Depression years, Irish immigration to the U.S. continued unabated. By 1920, almost 4.5 million Irish made their home in America. Irish immigrants frequently took up either farming or the skilled trades they had previously practiced. Tenant farming (the agricultural system in which landowners contribute their land and a measure of operating capital and management, while tenants contribute their labor with various amounts of capital and management), a hold-over from the “auld country” (old country), emerged as a common organization of agricultural production in New England and elsewhere following the post-Civil War reconstruction period. For northern landowners and tenant farmers alike, the first two decades of the 20th Century proved auspicious, as gross farm income more than doubled and the value of the land itself more than tripled. This period of time has been referred to as “the golden age of agriculture.” Even though some profits went into improving their farming operations, much of the farmer and landowner’s newly acquired wealth went into products that made their lives more comfortable, such as plumbing and electricity. Yet, despite this seeming improvement in the New England farming sector, a number of factors led to the ultimate overshadowing of agriculture’s importance. Many farmers had grown so dependent on new-found material goods and services that when economic downturns finally started to encroach upon them, the lure of better jobs in urban centers quickly pulled them away from their country homes and into the cities. Tenant farmers also suffered as the farmers’ children chose to leave the land their parents had tilled in order to find their fortunes beyond the four walls of their family homes.

T. STEDMAN HARDER’S ICE POND from the McCarter Theatre

In the 19th century, refrigeration became a common method of food preservation. Each winter, communities harvested the ice that formed in their lakes and rivers, storing it in large ice houses insulated with hay and sawdust. This ice would be used primarily to store meat and dairy products during warm weather. Natural ice was also harvested and sold commercially, with the industry reaching its peak with 25 million tons harvested in 1886. Electric refrigerators and manufactured ice were available in the early 20th century, and the commercial trade of natural ice soon declined, with a brief revival during World War I. Many individual families and communities, however, continued to harvest ice from their own lakes and ponds 
 through the 1920s

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ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: EUGENE O’NEILL Eugene O’Neill was one of the greatest playwrights in American history. Through his experimental and emotionally probing dramas, he addressed the difficulties of human society with a deep psychological complexity. O’Neill’s disdain for the commercial realities of the theater world he was born into led him to produce works of importance and integrity. Born in a hotel on Broadway in 1888, Eugene O’Neill was the son of Ella Quinlan and the actor James O’Neill. Eugene spent the first seven years of his life touring with his father’s theater company. These years introduced O’Neill to the world of theater and the difficulties of maintaining artistic integrity. His father, once a well-known Shakespearean, had taken a role in a lesser play for its sizable salary. O’Neill spent the next seven years receiving a strict Catholic education before attending a private secular school in Connecticut. Though a bright student, he was already caught up in a world of alcohol and prostitutes by the time he entered college. He eventually dropped out before finishing his first year at Princeton University. Though he would later enroll in a short class in playwriting at Harvard, this was the end of his formal education. After leaving Princeton, O’Neill moved to New York, where he spent most of his time drinking and carousing with his older brother. In 1910 he fell in love with and married the first of three wives, Kathleen Jenkins. Soon after, however, O’Neill left his wife for the adventures of traveling. In Honduras he contracted Malaria, and returned to find Kathleen pregnant with his child. Without seeing the boy (Eugene O’Neill, Jr.), O’Neill shipped out again, this time for Buenos Aires, and later for England. In 1912, Kathleen filed for divorce and soon after, plagued by illness, O’Neill returned to his parents’ home. It was there among the turmoil of a despondent father and a morphine-addicted mother that he decided to become a playwright. O’Neill spent the next five years working primarily on one-act plays. In 1918 he married Agnes Boulton, and with her had two children, Shane and Oona. He continued to publish and produce his one-acts, but it was not until his play “Beyond the Horizon” (1920), that American audiences responded to his genius. The play won the first of three Pulitzer Prizes for O’Neill. Many saw in this early work a first step toward a more serious American theater. O’Neill’s poetic dialogue and insightful views into the lives of the characters held his work apart from the less sober playwriting of the day. Following the success of “Beyond the Horizon”, O’Neill went into an incredibly productive period, writing many of his greatest plays. “The Emperor Jones” (1920) and “The Hairy Ape” (1922) follow the lives of two men through personal struggles and their search for identity. Received well, these two established O’Neill as a master of the craft. The times, however, were fraught with turmoil—seeing the death of O’Neill’s father, mother, and brother, as well as the break-up of his marriage. Despite (or because) of these tragedies, he went on to create a number of penetrating and insightful views into family life and struggle. With plays such as “Desire Under the Elms” (1924) and “Morning Becomes Electra” (1931), O’Neill uses the moral and physical entanglements similar to Greek drama to express the complexities of family life. Throughout much of the 1930s and 1940s, O’Neill continued in this vein working on a cycle of plays (nine) which would deal with lives of a New England family. Concerned that they might be altered after his death, O’Neill eventually destroyed the manuscripts, accidentally leaving behind only one, “A Touch of the Poet.” O’Neill’s final years were spent estranged from much of the literary community and his family. Though he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1936, most of his later works were not produced until after his death. His failing health did not prevent him, however, from writing two of the greatest works the American stage has ever seen. Both “The Iceman Cometh”, a story of personal desperation in the lives a handful of barflys, and “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” a view into the difficult family life of his early years, were profound insights into many of the darker questions of human existence. Produced posthumously, these were to be his two greatest achievements. By the time of his death in 1953, O’Neill was considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers. Source: PBS Website

THE WORKS OF EUGENE O’NEILL FULL LENGTH PLAYS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Bread and Butter, 1914 Servitude, 1914 The Personal Equation, 1915 Now I Ask You, 1916 Beyond the Horizon, 1918 - Pulitzer Prize, 1920 The Straw, 1919 Chris Christophersen, 1919 Gold, 1920 Anna Christie, 1920 - Pulitzer Prize, 1922 The Emperor Jones, 1920 Diff ’rent, 1921 The First Man, 1922 The Hairy Ape, 1922 The Fountain, 1923 Marco Millions, 1923–25 All God’s Chillun Got Wings, 1924 Welded, 1924 Desire Under the Elms, 1925 Lazarus Laughed, 1925–26 The Great God Brown, 1926 Strange Interlude, 1928 - Pulitzer Prize Dynamo, 1929 Mourning Becomes Electra, 1931 Ah, Wilderness!, 1933 Days Without End, 1933 The Iceman Cometh, written 1939, published 1940, first performed 1946 Hughie, written 1941, first performed 1959 Long Day’s Journey Into Night, written 1941, first performed 1956 - Pulitzer Prize 1957 A Moon for the Misbegotten, written 1941-1943, first performed 1947 A Touch of the Poet, completed in 1942, first performed 1958 More Stately Mansions, second draft found in O’Neill’s papers, first performed 1967 The Calms of Capricorn, published in 1983


The Glencairn Plays, all of which feature characters on the fictional ship Glencairn -- filmed together as The Long Voyage Home: • Bound East for Cardiff, 1914 • In The Zone, 1917 • The Long Voyage Home, 1917

• Moon of the Caribbees, 1918 OTHER ONE ACT PLAYS INCLUDE: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

A Wife for a Life, 1913 The Web, 1913 Thirst, 1913 Recklessness, 1913 Warnings, 1913 Fog, 1914 Abortion, 1914 The Movie Man: A Comedy, 1914 [2][12] The Sniper, 1915 Before Breakfast, 1916 Ile, 1917 The Rope, 1918 Shell Shock, 1918 The Dreamy Kid, 1918 Where the Cross Is Made, 1918


The Last Will and Testament of An Extremely Distinguished Dog, 1940. Written to comfort Carlotta as their “child” Blemie was approaching his death in December 1940.[13]


from the McCarter Theatre study guide Belasco: David Belasco (1853-1931) was an American theatrical manager, producer and occasional playwright best known for spectacular stage settings and inventive lighting. Blarney: Smooth, flattering talk (derived from Blarney Stone, located at Blarney Castle in southern Ireland. Kissing the Blarney Stone is said to impart powers of eloquence and persuasion.). Blather: Chatter, nonsense. Blotto: Slang: drunk. Bonded Bourbon: Bourbon whiskey that has been aged and bottled according to the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. It is straight bourbon whiskey, made at one time and in one location, that has been aged in government-supervised warehouses for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof. Bootlegger: A person who engages in smuggling (illegal trade). Bootleggers are often associated with the illegal trade of alcohol during Prohibition. Brass: Showing blatant self-assurance or impudent boldness. Brazen: Bold, forward. Bunk: Slang: empty talk, nonsense. Cholera: An acute, often fatal, infectious disease often contracted by drinking contaminated water. Dago red: Derogatory slang term for the type of red wine made by Italian immigrants. Dirge: A slow, mournful song or elegiac poem. Divil a speck: Slang: “scarcely a speck.” Drivel: Stupid or senseless talk. Eminent: Well-known, important. Exalted: Dignified, glorious. Flinders: Bits, fragments. Gab: Chatter. Gabriel’s horn: According to the Bible, the Archangel Gabriel will blow his horn to announce the arrival of Judgment Day. Graft: Unscrupulous use of one’s position to derive profit or advantages; extortion. Guff: Small-talk. Heebie jeebies: A state of nervous excitement, brought on by fear, anticipation, drugs, etc.; delirium tremens. Hooch: Alcohol, particularly illicitly produced. The word originally referred to strong liquor made by the Hoochino Indians of Alaska. Infirm: Sick, unwell. Insinuating: To insinuate means to imply, to suggest subtly or craftily. Jack Dempsey: (1895-1983) World heavyweight boxing champion from 1919-1926, who had a pro record of 64-6-9. Jag: Spree, overindulgence. Jebs: Slang for Jesuits. The Jesuit order, founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola, is renowned for its strict, hierarchical, almost military discipline and its emphasis on an education based on the classics. Swag: Swag is slang for stolen property or loot. Limey: Slang (often derogatory): An Englishman (noun); English or British (adjective). Macadam: A pavement of layers of compacted broken stone, now usually bound with tar or asphalt. Messalina: (17-48 CE) Third wife of Roman emperor Claudius, portrayed in the works of Tacitus and other historians as a ruthless nymphomaniac. Minx: A promiscuous woman. Miser: A greedy, stingy person. Mug: A person’s face or the photograph of a face (as in the term “mug shot”).


from the McCarter Theatre study guide Nix: To forbid, veto; also a slang exclamation meaning stop. Paralytic: A person unable to move or act. Pelt: To move quickly, in an energetic gait. Pie-eyed: very drunk. Pinched: Slang: arrested. Pins: Slang: legs. Pious: Religiously devout, virtuous, moral. Praties: Irish slang for potatoes. Probate: The process of legally establishing the validity of a will before a judicial authority. Prohibition: A ban, ruling out; also refers to the period (1920-33) when the 18th Amendment and the Prohibition Act prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Rotgut: Slang: raw, inferior liquor. Rumpus: A disturbance, commotion. Savage: Fierce, merciless. Sen-Sen: A breath freshener developed shortly before the turn of the century by T.B. Dunn and Co., perfume dealers in Rochester, NY. Shanty: A shack. Skinflint: A miser. Soused: Very drunk. Speakeasy: A place for the illegal sale of alcoholic drinks, particularly during Prohibition. Spindle-Shanked: Slang insult: having long, skinny legs. Spry: Lively, active. Standard Oil: John D. Rockefeller invested in a Cleveland oil refinery during the Civil War and in 1870 created Standard Oil, which refined about 95% of the United States’ oil in 1880. In 1911, Standard Oil was declared an illegal monopoly and split into 34 companies, including Esso (renamed Exxon in 1972), Mobil, Chevron, Atlantic Richfield (later ARCO), and Amoco. Stewed: Slang: drunk. Stinko: Slang: drunk. Stint: To restrict or limit; to be sparing. Sundry: Various, several. Swindle: To cheat, trick. Tart: Slang: a loose woman, slut, prostitute. Teetotaller: One who never drinks alcohol. Temperance: Restraint, self-control; often in reference to alcohol. Trollop: A dirty, untidy woman. Virtuous: Honorable, honest, righteous; often used to mean chaste or pure, in reference to women. Wake: A watch over the body of a deceased person before burial, sometimes accompanied by festivity. Wallow: To revel in; to be plentifully supplied. Wanton: Immoral or unchaste, lewd. Yen: A strong desire or inclination; a longing or craving.

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Costume Designer ALISON ROBERTS

Scenic Designer MATT SAUNDERS

Sound Designer JAMES SUGG

Lighting Designer THOM WEAVER

Stage Manager ALEC E. FERRELL

Scenic Research

Set of A Moon for the Misbegotten on the Arden’s Arcadia Stage. Photo by Mark Garvin


Grace Gonglewski on preparing to look like Josie: “I am whitening my teeth for Josie – it says in the script she has even white teeth and coarse black hair. Got a perm last week and will get it colored black next week.”

Grace Gonglewski as Josie Hogan: Costume Sketch and Costume

“Alison [Roberts, Costume Designer] did a marvelous job – it is subtle but definitely enlarges me. We have cut from the script several of the size references, focusing more on the ugliness she feels. Alison’s exquisite work has helped me feel …ugly enough to lose my confidence. “I am growing every bit of body hair back – eyebrows, legs, underarms… makes me feel… well, ugly, raw, farmgirl.” “And I think we are going to dye my hair black to match my little brothers. It says in the script black and coarse – thinking of how we can do that… maybe a perm?”

H. Michael Walls as Phil Hogan: Costume Sketch and Costume

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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES & DISCUSSION Introduce the concept of improvisation to your students by pairing them up and letting them create improv scenes based on themes from A Moon for the Misbegotten. Improvisational Theatre is a form of theatre where actors create dialogue, songs, or skits in the moment and spontaneously. It is not scripted in any way. You can review these 5 basic rules of Improv before you egt started with the activity.

5 Basic Improv Rules

1) Don’t Deny Denial is the number one reason most scenes go bad. Any time you refuse an Offer made by your partner your scene will almost instantly come to a grinding halt. Example: Player A) “Hi, my name is Jim. Welcome to my store.” Player B) “This isn’t a store, it’s an airplane. And you’re not Jim, you’re an antelope.” 2) Don’t ask open ended Questions Open ended questions (like “Who are you?”) are scene killers because they force your partner to stop whatever they are doing and come up with an answer. When you ask your partner and open ended question, you put the burden of coming up with something “interesting” on your partner - so you are no longer doing a scene together but forcing one person has to do more work than you are willing to do. 3) You don’t have to be funny. The hidden riddle of improv is that the harder you try not to be funny the more funny your scene is going to be. Why? Because it’s the very best kind of improv scene you can do is an “interesting” scene, not necessarily a “funny” one. When you do an interesting scene, a very surprising thing happens—the funny comes out all by it’s self. The best ways to go are to stick to your character, stick to the story that is being told, and to stay within the reality of the scene you are playing. 4) You can look good if you make your partner look good. When you are in a scene, the better you make your partner look the better the scene is going to be and, as a direct result, the better you are going to look. All too often, I’ve seen players enter a scene and I can just tell they have some really great idea about the character they are going to play or an idea they want to do. This is wonderful, but guess what? Your partner probably has absolutely no idea what’s cooking in your evil little mind, and so has no idea how to react. And no matter how brilliant your idea might be, it’s practically worthless if the scene as a whole goes bad. 5) Tell a story. Storytelling is probably the easiest rule to remember but the hardest one to do. The real magic of improv is when we see the players take totally random suggestions (like a plumber and a cab driver selling shoes in a leper colony ) and somehow “make it work”. If all these unrelated elements are going to come together then it’s going to happen in the course of an interesting tale. So that’s just what the players are going to try and do, tell us all a story. Source:

Now pair the students up and give them different scenarios for them to create the improvisational scenes on the next page... Page 13

Watching the sun rise with someone Student A: Likes student B and is watching a sunrise with him / her. Student B: Falls asleep Trusting a person who you can share anything with, confessing to them. Student A: Has an important secret to tell student B. Student B: Is too distracted to listen. Fixing up a friend on a date – playing “matchmaker” Student A: Knows someone that likes student B and wants to set them up. Student B: Is too embarassed to admit they might be interested in student A’s friend. “Pride is the sin by which all angels fell” Student A: Likes student B. Student B: Has a secret he/she won’t tell Student A. Keeping your home Student A: Is a landlord wanting to evict a tenant. Student B: Is the tenant trying to keep their home. Neighbor watering hole – places you always go when you’re not home Student A: Does not like Student B. Student B: Goes to a local, popular hangout and see Student A.


1. Josie has to decide whether or not to go along with her father’s plan to trick Jamie. Have you had to make a decision between love and money? 2. For a portion of the night, Josie thinks Jamie has forgotten their date. Have you ever been stood up? Or stood up someone else? 3. O’Neill’s descriptive language is very specific, especially of his characters. Try describing yourself like an O’Neill character. Now try describing the object your affection in his style. 4. James Tyrone has a lot of family issues with his mom and dad. Because he kept them bottled up inside, he turned to addiction. What other characters have you read about that experienced this type of behavior? Have you ever known someone who has had experiences like this? 5. How do you feel about Josie and Tyrone’ s decision to not be together at the end of the play? Should they have tried to make their relationship work? Why or why not? What could they have done? 6. Many of Eugene O’Neill’s plays have autobiographical elements in them. Imagine that you are a playwright. What people or instances in your life would you draw upon to write a play? 7. It is safe to argue that James Tyrone and Phil Hogan are alcoholics. Do you think Josie had a responsibility to try and prevent this abuse? Why or why not? Why do you think her character chose not to? 8. Phil Hogan lies to Josie when he thinks it’s good for her. Do you think that Josie would have been better off without him lying to her? How would that have affected her relationship with Jim? Do you think they would have ended up together in the end of the story without Phil’s interference?

A Moon for the Misbegotten Supplemental Study Guide  
A Moon for the Misbegotten Supplemental Study Guide  

An educaitonal resource for Arden Theatre Company's production of A Moon for the Misbegotten.