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'On Contact With Chris Hedges': Eugene O'Neill's 'Electra' Shatters the American Myth

Editor’s note: Chris Hedges’ weekly column will appear Wednesday.

A culture saturated with artifice and false promises of success and happiness doesn’t easily accommodate the kinds of ideas playwright Eugene O’Neill made it his business to dramatize onstage. As Chris Hedges explains in this week’s episode of his RT show “On Contact,” that’s precisely why his work is so important at this moment.

Calling O’Neill “America’s most revolutionary and perhaps greatest playwright,” who took on the critical project of “shattering of the American myth,” Hedges invites two people who know his work from the inside out—actor Eunice Wong and director David Herskovits—for a conversation about O’Neill’s significance. Wong, who is Hedges’ wife, as well as Truthdig’s book review editor, will appear as Lavinia Mannon in the Target Margin Theater’s production of “Mourning Becomes Electra.” Directed by Herskovits at the Abrons Art Center in New York City, the play opens Wednesday and runs through May 20.

Hedges remarks that O’Neill viewed the illusions that continue to power the American myth machine, “which have now largely supplanted reality itself, as a kind of disease eating away at the American soul.”

Wong describes “Electra” as presenting a “historical account of the seeds of our country—the seeds of racism, brutality, slavery.”

Watch all three in dialogue below:

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

Kasia Anderson
Deputy Editor
Kasia Anderson is a deputy editor at Truthdig. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1997 with a degree in English literature and sociology, she worked as a Web journalist in San Francisco until 2000,…
Kasia Anderson

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