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Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape, opening May 14 at West L.A.’s Odyssey Theatre.

Steven Berkoff will direct a rare production of Eugene O’Neill’s 1922 expressionist play The Hairy Ape, opening May 14 at West L.A.’s Odyssey Theatre.

O’Neill’s critique of class stratification is the story of Robert “Yank” Smith, a brutish ship laborer who searches for a sense of belonging in a world controlled by the wealthy elite. As head coal stoker on an ocean liner, Yank is in his element: he rules his dark, smoky world. But when the pale, spoiled daughter of the ship's owner visits the engine room for a thrill, she is at once repulsed and terrified by Yank and what she sees there. Half in love with the unattainable and half blinded by rage, the bewildered Yank blunders violently through Manhattan seeking revenge and trying to understand his place on “de oith.”

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