A Touch of the Poet
“This distinguished production builds into a commandingly theatrical experience,” says David Rooney in his review of the Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s A Touch of the Poet, now playing on Broadway for the first time in almost thirty years.
The cast is led by Gabriel Byrne, who gives a “haunting interpretation” of the brooding and melodramatic Cornelius “Con” Melody, the ex-army officer turned Irish immigrant clinging resolutely to the old world while forced to make his way in the new.
A Touch of the Poet is one of only two plays which survive from O’Neill’s projected 11-play cycle, “A Tale of Possessors Self-Possessed,” in which the playwright intended to trace the materialistic corruption masquerading as the American dream. The other play, More Stately Mansions, left unfinished by O’Neill, forms a companion piece linked by characters and themes to A Touch of the Poet.
These two works, A Touch of the Poet and More Stately Mansions, are available together in a paperback volume from Yale University Press. The version of More Stately Mansions presented in the volume is O’Neill’s unexpurgated text, scrupulously edited by Martha Gilman Bower, which restores the playwright’s original opening scene, a crucial epilogue, and other material essential to understanding the play.
A Touch of the Poet, a Roundabout Theatre Company production, is playing at Studio 54. It will continue until January 29, 2006.