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  Desire Under the Elms at A Noise Within

Desire Under the Elms

A Noise Within
3352 E Foothill Blvd Pasadena

Widower Ephraim Cabot abandons his New England farm to his three sons, who hate him but share his greed. Eben, the youngest and brightest sibling, feels the farm is his birthright, as it originally belonged to his mother. He buys out his half-brothers' shares of the farm with money stolen from his father, and Peter and Simeon head off to California to seek their fortune. Later, Ephraim returns with a new wife, the beautiful and headstrong Abbie, who enters into an adulterous affair with Eben. Soon after, Abbie bears Eben's child, but lets Ephraim believe that the child is his, in the hopes of securing her future with the farm. The proud Ephraim is oblivious as his neighbors openly mock him as a cuckold. Madly in love with Eben and fearful it would become an obstacle to their relationship, Abbie kills the infant. An enraged and distraught Eben turns Abbie over to the sheriff, but not before admitting to himself the depths of his love for her and thus confessing his own role in the infanticide.

Thru - Dec 18, 2011

Price: $34-$46

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 626-356-3100

A Noise Within Seating Chart

  Desire Under the Elms Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Los Angeles Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Certainly, in fine A Noise Within tradition, the production is handsomely well-realized, although director Dámaso Rodriguez and his cast stumble over a few pebbles along the way."
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F. Kathleen Foley

LA Weekly - Recommended

"...Under Dámaso Rodriguez’s superb direction, the performances are all excellent, playing up the intense, high drama and never dissolving into melodramatic drivel."
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Pauline Adamek

Backstage - Recommended

"...It’s somewhat long-winded and occasionally veers to melodrama. Nonetheless, this finely etched rendition proves a worthwhile revisit of a seldom-produced O’Neill play."
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Les Spindle

LAist - Recommended

"....Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under The Elms handily fits into this category, and the current production at A Noise Within, a time bomb of repressed passion and naked avarice under Dámaso Rodriguez’s sure direction, reminds us why it’s a classic."
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Terry Morgan

Stage and Cinema - Not Recommended

"...I do not mean to suggest that watching their revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms is akin to watching the Titanic sink, but it does raise the question of whether another stodgy, workmanlike production of a dated O’Neill play is absolutely necessary. If this reviewer was asked, he’d say, yes…if the director were to re-imagine the play and bring to it a vision that showed us why the play has survived and what relevance it continues to have today; and, yes, if it were peopled with a powerhouse cast of actors. This revival has neither."
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Harvey Perr

Stage Scene LA - Recommended

"...I’ll have to see more of Eugene O’Neill to understand his position as one of the 20th Century’s most lauded playwrights. Still, whether a justifiable classic or not, Desire Under The Elms kept me fascinated from start to finish, thanks to director and cast. 1850s New England has rarely if ever been more noir or more Greek."
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Steven Stanley - Recommended

"...There’s a reason that Eugene O’Neill won three Pulitzer Prizes and the Nobel Prize for Literature in his lifetime. No other playwright of the twentieth century could pull off the clashes of raw emotion found in his plays. And it is a rare director who can tap into the forces that helped create them. But under Dámaso Rodriguez’ deft hand, the doomed triumvirate of Ephraim (William Dennis Hunt), Abbie (Monette Magrath) and Eben (Jason Dechert) loom larger than life."
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Leigh Kennicott

Examiner - Recommended

"...Under the direction of Dámaso Rodriguez, the emotional transformations of Abbie and Eben are carefully modulated and while we don’t come to love Ephraim, he’s human enough for pity. He has the farm he desired, but no one to share it with."
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Jana J. Monji - Recommended

"...You may not get a chance to see this play again, at least in Los Angeles so I suggest you drive on over the Pasadena to catch a great play in a wonderful new theatre, Desire Under The Elms plays is rep with 12th Night at A Noise Within until Dec. 18th."
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Robert Machray

LA Stage Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Ultimately the play feels too stolid, a living diorama instead of a flesh-and-blood drama."
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Don Shirley

On Stage Los Angeles - Recommended

"...The desire of the flesh and the avarice that turns men… and women into lustful greedy people foments into loss for all involved: a tragedy in the classical sense."
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Michael Sheehan

Neon Tommy - Recommended

"...In this case, the cast succeeded in capturing the audience by creating tangible tension and passion, leaving them brooding over the complexity of love and hate. Their physical language, the expressiveness of their body motions, were especially hypnotic, helping to escalate the drama to its shocking climax."
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Neon Tommy

Culture Vulture - Recommended

"...Under the adept direction of Dámaso Rodriguez, a gifted cast transforms these human impulses into flesh and blood, love and lust, hope and despair."
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George Alexander

The Stage Struck Review - Recommended

"...Though “Twelfth Night” was overly concept-driven, putting florid flourishes on a play to the point of dulling its original luster, this new exploration of Eugene O’Neill’s minor masterpiece “Desire Under the Elms” lets the characters become the play’s force. Interlaced in director D’amaso Rodriguez’s vision of setting and pace, the show becomes a cohesive whole, and a compelling one."
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Frances Baum Nicholson

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