The Bottle and the Void

Real men and real women light it up in Laguna

But ultimately, Tyrone is denied the Woman-along with hope and life. Josie realizes that there really is nothing left for him but the forgiveness granted the dead. And thus the source of tears in A Moon for the Misbegotten. They're not the sappy tears of forced melodrama, the kind of currency so often passed along as genuine emotion in mediocre plays by mediocre playwrights. They're great, heaving sobs of anguish, of the playwright lamenting his lost soul, his lost brother, and by extension, the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed, every hung-up person in the universe. But unlike Bob Dylan's hunted and haunted, there are no chimes of freedom flashing for O'Neill and his ghosts. There's only the mournful sound of funeral bells, sickly dawns creeping through dirty windowpanes, the forlorn rags of growing old, the bottle and then the void.

A Moon for the Misbegotten at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-ARTS. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m. Through May 16. $19-$38.

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