chapter  2
13 Pages

From Mourning Becomes Electra to Long Day’s Journey into Night: Ivo van Hove directs Eugene O’Neill

WithJohan Callens

Compared to most other directors, Ivo van Hove has a quite prolific track record of producing works by Eugene O’Neill (1888–1953). To the cutting edge Fleming, O’Neill is a writer of Shakespearean stature, extremely personal yet universal in all his variety, one who creates out of the need to fathom our existence and face its contradictory forces, much as van Hove purports to make theatre “out of necessity” (Törnqvist 2004: 276). O’Neill also “helps” van Hove “in [his] thinking.” As he puts it, “Each time I read something by him, it grows along with my personal biography. The things that I struggle with, I rediscover in him. Both when it comes to content and theatrically too, he releases my demons” (Sels 2004).