March 5-21, 1970
Long Day's Journey Into Night
Extracts form the Director's Notebook
Long Day's Journey Into Night is a timeless play. It is structured in a very strict time-sequence from early morning to late night of one day. This structure is a surface one, however, like the frame around a portrait...it gives the audience a frame of reference, revealing information about the relationships and characters a little at a time. This is the dramatic effect. The form is a mirror of the inner tensions and the play must not be rehearsed as a story. What "happens" will happen because of the atmospehre or climate of relationships and not because of accidental (external) events...this play belongs to the same tradition as The Odyssey and Joyce's Ulysses...the dialogue is echoed in eternity...
Round and round it goes and each time it comes to the beginning it transforms slightly...the room is a giant magnet trapping the Tyrone family, keeping them hopelessly together despite their need to get away...it is a play of addiction, not just to morphine and alcohol, these become symbols, but addiction to each other...but despite this, it is not an exercise in morbidity because Edmund has hope and the possibility of escape. In the last act, he describes his experiences at sea: "I dissolved in the sea...I belonged without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself!" Here is hope and vision that lies beyond despair.
– Joel Miller