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Eugene O'Neil – PBS Documentary. | The Art of Will Terrell

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Eugene O'Neil – PBS Documentary.

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I couldn’t sleep last night. Had some stuff on my mind. Ended up catching the second half of American Experience doc on PBS about Playwrite Eugene O’Neil. I cannot describe how unbelievably inspired I was by this program. O’neil is a very tragic character. Heartbreakingly so. But his creative genius is inspiring. His insight into the human character is incredible. And his monologue in act four of “Long days Journey into Night” left me speechless. And I hope someday, with great longing, to be able to evoke that power into my writing. I may never be as great as O’neil. I can pretty much guarantee that. But if my writing touches one person the way his did me, I will be happy. Better to fall short of greatness than succede in mediocrity.

There is one quote at the end of the doc that I feel has a lot of insight into what I feel is the potential of the comic book. The magic that I feel when reading a good story, when I totally get lost in the world for just a few hours. But it feels like a lifetime. It’s also the feeling I get sometimes when I’m drawing a page. When I totally get lost in exploring the scene I’m in…

“That’s the eternal triangle — the writer, the audience, and the actor — where they join. And here’s the thing, when you go in there to a three-hour and forty-five minute performance, or a 4:45 or 5 hours like in The Iceman, and if it’s going right, it seems like about two minutes. You break time, and space and time. Ralph Richardson said, “Every time we go on the stage, we break time — if we do it right — we break space, and it’s our time to dream. We dream, we have to be able to dream.”

I encourage anyone to check out the Doc if you get the chance. His life, and some of his plays are very hard to take. Stick with it till the end. It’s worth the payoff.

–Will

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