Shared Experience, Desire Under The Elms

Review in Issue 8-1 | Spring 1996

Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms is more concerned with an elemental struggle than a particular time and place. It is a play full of passion, longing and desire for an impossible love. Such explosive material has to be carefully and subtly approached. Despite some strong performances from the cast, this was not achieved. Founded in 1975, the company's philosophy has always focused on the actor’s physical presence and his subsequent relationship with the audience. This was apparent, but the dynamics of O'Neill's text were not fully explored. In many ways, the direction had been too concerned with impressing the power of unrequited love through physical presence and one was left with a pseudo-melodramatic style of performance in which the pain and fear of love was depicted by beating one's breast and tearing out one's hair. Once this level has been reached there is no turning back and the audience fails to share the actor’s experience as it becomes devoid of true emotion. There is no denying the quality of work produced by Shared Experience, but at times one was left questioning its integrity.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 1995

This article in the magazine

Issue 8-1
p. 22