"3.5 STARS. Hughie may be short but he packs a wallop." —Chicago Theater Beat
"Hughie knocked my socks off... Burgess Meredith was the first Hughie. Jason Robards and Al Pacino followed him; Mr. Armacost is their equal." —The Times Weekly
By Eugene O'Neill
Directed by Kevin Fox
Performed at The Den Theatre
1333 N. Milwaukee Avenue
El Blue Line: Division or Damen
April 5 - May 5, 2013
Thur, Fri & Sat @ 7:30pm
Sun @ 3:00pm
For tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or
Cast & Crew | Reviews
SeanachaŪ ensemble member Brad Armacost stars as Erie Smith in Eugene OíNeillís classic play, directed by Kevin Fox, who returns to SeanachaŪ, having previously appeared onstage in Translations (1999). The production also features ensemble member Jeff Duhigg and designers Ira Amyx and Julian Pike, the team that brought you O'Neill's Jeff-nominated A Moon for the Misbegotten. Come see SeanachaŪís take on this piece made famous by Jason Robards, Brian Dennehy & Al Pacino. It's the story of a small-time Broadway hustler and his late night run-in with the new hotel night clerk.
*Member of Actor's Equity Association
From Chicago Theater Beat
Erie Smith is a small-time gambler and big-time talker. Heís coming off his most recent bender. Heís looking for the comforts of home. Heís searching for his Hughie. Charley Hughes is the new replacement night clerk. For years, Erie has returned home from his latest craps game or hook-up to chat it out with Hughie, the old night clerk. Erie used to regale his tales of conquests to his trusted hotel sidekick. Hughieís recent death has left Erie forlorn and friendless and without a sounding board. Whatís left of his life if he canít get the new guy to listen? Hughie is the perfect ramblings of a lonely old man.
Maybe itís Kevin Foxís direction, but Eugene OíNeillís play, Hughie, has all the makings of a one man show. With the Denís intimate setting and Jeff Duhiggís (Charley) physical expressions, this Hughie is every bit an intimate conversation. As Brad Armacost (Erie) marvelously verbalizes his miserable life, Duhigg nonverbally tells his own. Armacost pontificates with a powerhouse of emotions. The grandiose storyteller charms with crinkling muses. Later, his rants about the injustice of his inebriated lifestyle are disheartening. The role could be dismissed like Erieís life but Armacost makes the audience care. We see the vulnerability under the flamboyant yet faded man. Our experience is largely influenced by Duhigg. He accentuates Armacostís series of monologues with a well-placed head tilt, mouth gape or eyebrow scrunch. Their interactions and non-interactions anchor the show in human honesty.
The designers accentuate this tale of woe. Scenic designers Ira Amyx and Merje Veski create a dilapidated hotel lobby. Costume designer Aly Greaves Amidei dresses Armacost in a worn but prideful suit. Sound designer Christopher Kriz creates an early morning city traffic soundscape just off the lobby. And lighting designer Julian Pike fills the room with shadows and regret. The entire design package puts us in *that* room — the room where insignificant people find solace in anyone that will listen. The room no one wants to end up in.
Hughie may be short but he packs a wallop. It stings at first but then the remaining bump somehow is a satisfying reminder.
From The Times Weekly
The other day I saw Eugene OíNeillís Hughie at the SeanachaÍ Theatre Company in Wicker Park. Entering through an almost hidden doorway with a number lock, making my way up a narrow, dim, steeply banked stairway, I had no idea what to expect. Truthfully, expectations were not high. Comfy dining room type chairs with arms were the first hopeful sign. Then show itself: Hughie knocked my socks off.
Hughie is a short play, written in 1941 but not performed until 1959, six years after the authorís death. Performed with no intermission, it is essentially a long monologue. Small time hustler Erie Smith (Brad Armacost) stumbles into the seedy Times Square hotel where he has been a long resident after a five-day drunk mourning the death of Hughie, the night clerk, who was his good luck charm for years. He is greeted by Charlie Hughes (Jeff Duhigg), the replacement night clerk. Hughes sounds like Hughie, and Erie tries desperately to make him a "new" Hughie using every tall tale and bluster he can come up with to entice him. Directed by Kevin Fox, Mr. Duhigg, in somber attire, is foil to Mr. Armacost, in white three-piece suit, in every way. He is as still as Erie is hyper. They achieve a gorgeous contrapuntal balance. Ira Amyx and Merje Veski (scenic design), Julian Pike (lighting) and Christopher Kriz (sound) create a spot-on period lobby with sirens and train sounds as punctuation. Aly Greaves Amidei did the costumes. Burgess Meredith was the first Hughie. Jason Robards and Al Pacino followed him; Mr. Armacost is their equal.
From the Chicago Reader
Charley, the night clerk in a New York transient hotel, barely speaks during Eugene O'Neill's 1942 play — he's the sounding board for two-bit sot Erie's extended monologue about gambling, women, and crushed hopes. But in Kevin Fox's production for Seanachaí Theatre Company, Charley's the unintentional star of the show, with a mesmerizing performance by Jeff Duhigg that turns the impenetrable night clerk into existential weariness personified. The more Erie goes on about his exploits, the more Charley surrenders to an elegiac inner voice bent on crushing his soul. Brad Armacost makes Erie sympathetic, but he overlooks the fact that he must need something from Charley — and need it badly — to transform a quaint character study into real drama.