Long Day's Journey Into Night : Inside the Rehearsal Room

Rehearsals for Long Day's Journey Into Night began this week and it's been wonderful to welcome old and new friends to the Citz to get torn into this epic American drama. Here, Assistant Director George Nichols shares his insights from behind the scenes:

With a masterpiece like Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night you want to make the most of every second of your rehearsals in order to bring the play to life; there’s no use in a slow start. So once we had all introduced ourselves and looked at Tom Piper’s stunning and atmospheric design we got straight to it. Dominic expressed his excitement at working with such a talented group of actors (George Costigan, Dani Heron, Lorn Macdonald, Bríd Ní Neachtain, and Sam Phillips) on what is surely one of the greatest plays of the twentieth century and he laid out how he sees the production and what he hopes we will achieve in the coming weeks.

As we started to work through the play the cast were struck by how the dialogue sounded so natural and real whilst also having a deep poetic resonance. This tempers the ugliness of much of the play, which deals with the raw wounds and bitterness at the heart of the Tyrone family. Even though we’re still in the early stages the tension and drama that permeate much of the text already feel very present which bodes well for when we get to share it with our audience in five weeks time.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we were blessed with the company and tutelage of our dialect coach Penny Dyer. The accents in Long Day’s Journey are particularly important as they act like a map of the characters’ lives. We should hear their heritage, and in the case of James and Jamie their professions too. The specificity of Penny’s work allows us strive toward an authentic and detailed production. As the play is epic in scale, both in length and subject matter, it is important we create a world that is specific and thorough in order to provide the best platform for this tornado of a play to take place. Useful companions in this regard are the many biographies which cover the life of Eugene O’Neill. While it would be unhelpful to suggest the play is an exact telling of O’Neill’s life, biographical information helps us to fill in the gaps in the world we are creating.

Already we are finding the work thrilling, and as we progress the play reveals more and more of its secrets to us. We’re looking forward to the coming weeks, and to getting completely swept away by the tornado.

13 Apr - 5 May

Long Day's Journey Into Night is a co-production with HOME Manchester
Supported by Friends of the Citizens
By arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited