Strange Interlude has, it appears, never before had a professional production in Ireland. Although it was touted as a masterpiece by a number of American critics at its 1928 premiere and took the Pulitzer Prize, most European critics thought the play overrated on reading it, and a 1931 production in London changed few minds. Belfast-born critic St. John Ervine advised cutting acts 8 and 9, as well as all of the “valueless” asides, to make it “a moderately interesting play” (qtd. in Edward L. Shaughnessy, Eugene O'Neill in Ireland: The Critical Reception [1988], 158). O'Neill's family heritage hardly mattered to contemporary Irish critics, one of whom called him “little more than a nominal Irishman” (ibid., 88). Indeed, there is not a whiff of Ireland or Irish drama in Strange Interlude, nothing of the abiding camaraderie of a subjected people—no fight, no humor, no soul. As storytellers, the characters are...

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