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The Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neill

"THE HAIRY APE"

A Comedy of Ancient and Modern Life

In Eight Scenes

By

EUGENE O'NEILL

CHARACTERS

ROBERT SMITH, "YANK" PADDY LONG MILDRED DOUGLAS HER AUNT SECOND ENGINEER A GUARD A SECRETARY OF AN ORGANIZATION STOKERS, LADIES, GENTLEMEN, ETC.

SCENE I

SCENE--_The firemen's forecastle of a transatlantic liner an hour after sailing from New York for the voyage across. Tiers of narrow, steel bunks, three deep, on all sides. An entrance in rear. Benches on the floor before the bunks. The room is crowded with men, shouting, cursing, laughing, singing--a confused, inchoate uproar swelling into a sort of unity, a meaning--the bewildered, furious, baffled defiance of a beast in a cage. Nearly all the men are drunk. Many bottles are passed from hand to hand. All are dressed in dungaree pants, heavy ugly shoes. Some wear singlets, but the majority are stripped to the waist._

_The treatment of this scene, or of any other scene in the play, should by no means be naturalistic. The effect sought after is a cramped space in the bowels of a ship, imprisoned by white steel. The lines of bunks, the uprights supporting them, cross each other like the steel framework of a cage. The ceiling crushes down upon the men's heads. They cannot stand upright. This accentuates the natural stooping posture which shovelling coal and the resultant over-development of back and shoulder muscles have given them. The men themselves should resemble those pictures in which the appearance of Neanderthal Man is guessed at. All are hairy-chested, with long arms of tremendous power, and low, receding brows above their small, fierce, resentful eyes. All the civilized white races are represented, but except for the slight differentiation in color of hair, skin, eyes, all these men are alike._

_The curtain rises on a tumult of sound. YANK is seated in the foreground. He seems broader, fiercer, more truculent, more powerful, more sure of himself than the rest. They respect his superior strength--the grudging respect of fear. Then, too, he represents to them a self-expression, the very last word in what they are, their most highly developed individual._

VOICES--Gif me trink dere, you!

'Ave a wet!

Salute!

Gesundheit!

Skoal!

Drunk as a lord, God stiffen you!

Here's how!

Luck!

Pass back that bottle, damn you!

Pourin' it down his neck!

Ho, Froggy! Where the devil have you been?

La Touraine.

I hit him smash in yaw, py Gott!

Jenkins--the First--he's a rotten swine--


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