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Ah, Wilderness!

Ah, Wilderness!
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Eugene O'Neill
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 141
Pub. Date: 1979
ISBN-10: 0573605149
ISBN-13: 9780573605147
Cast Size: 6 women, 9 men

About the Play:

Ah, Wilderness! is a full-length comedy by Eugene O'Neill. A comedy... by the Nobel Laureate and four-time Pulitzer Prize winner? Yes! In a small New England town at the turn of the 20th century, an intense, poetic and sensitive young man falls in love, drives his mother crazy, and sparks his parents to recall their own romance and youth. His only comedy, Ah, Wilderness! is a sharp departure from the gritty reality of the author's renowned dramas.

Ah, Wilderness! is a joyous and humorous depiction of American family life at the turn of the century. Taking place over the July Fourth weekend of 1906 in an idyllic town on the Connecticut shore (not unlike New London, where O'Neill spent a lot of his early years), Ah, Wilderness! offers a tender retrospective portrait of small town family values, teenage growing pains and young love. Most of the play occurs in the home of Nat and Essie Miller. Nat owns the local newspaper and his teenage son, Richard (a stand-in for O'Neill) is in love with Muriel, the daughter of Nat's largest advertiser. Her conservative father is outraged when Richard attempts to "corrupt" his daughter by exposing her to "scandalous" books by George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and the 12th-century poet Omar Khayyam. The teenagers are forbidden by their parents to see each other. When Richard mistakenly thinks Muriel has agreed to end their relationship, he goes to a local backroom bar and gets drunk for the first time, causing uproar when he gets home. The next day he learns that Muriel still cares for him and they meet in secret at a deserted local beach, where they finally profess their youthful devotion to each other. In this unabashedly romantic and sweetly funny comedy, the master playwright returns us to an idyllic age of America focusing on a young man, young love and his coming-of-age.

Ah, Wilderness! premiered in 1933 on Broadway at the Guild Theatre in New York, and in 1936 at the Westminster Theatre in London. Revived in 1998 to acclaim at New York's Lincoln Center, the play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 6 women, 9 men

What people say:

"A breath of fresh air.... A miracle of sense and sensibility.... Vividly alive." — New York Post

"Happy days are here again in a positively winning revival [that is] ... less a comedy than an elegy for a warm, safe, lost world ... The note of tender elegy is sweet." — The New York Times

About the Playwright:

Eugene O'Neill (1889–1953), the father of American drama, the author of 49 plays, won four Pulitzer Prizes for drama, and is the only American playwright to have received a Nobel Prize (1936).

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