Although Eugene O”Neill is best known as a genius of dark theater, his play “Ah, Wilderness!” takes a somewhat nostalgic turn towards family values and coming of age sentiments. In O”Neill”s own words, the play is “a sort of wishing out loud, the way I wished my boyhood had been.” O”Neill”s quasi-autobiographical comedy follows the story of a family”s experience dealing with the growing pains of their teenage son, Richard, during the fateful summer of 1906.

Paul Wong
The Guthrie Theater cast portrays the comedic Miller family in “Ah, Wilderness!”<br><br>Courtesy of Guthrie Theater

Guthrie Theater”s production of “Ah! Wilderness” will perform this weekend at the Power Center with the hope that the audience will experience a blast from the past. Guthrie has been recognized on the international level as an organization devoted to educational programs as well as touring engagements. Recent productions by Guthrie Theater include John Steinbeck”s ” Of Mice and Men” and Shakespeare”s “A Midsummer”s Night Dream.”

“The play reaffirms American values, solid family life, responsibility to others, and bring up things on the mind of the national conscience,” said Guthrie member Joe Delafield, who plays Richard Miller.

Delafield began acting as a child in elementary school and continued to pursue acting in high school and received a M.A. in Theater at New York University. He has been cast in ” All My Sons” by Arthur Miller, “A Midsummer”s Night Dream” and “Waiting Room,” but he admits that his favorite role is that of Richard Miller.

“It”s been a long time since I was a 17-year old boy who”s trying to figure out his identity, but somehow I can really relate to the character and becoming the character Richard has taught me a lot about myself,” Delafield said. “It”s something I can really sink my teeth into.”

Delafield credits the cast as one of the essential components which have made his experience with the company enjoyable. “This production is fantastically cast. We get along, but we”re going to be in close quarters while traveling. I don”t foresee any problems as of now. We”re having a lot of fun.”

“Working at Guthrie Theater is a great regional theater start, but I”d love to do more. Also, I”d like to get to the point where I can stay in New York to be with my fianc. It”s tough being away,” he said.

Delafield, along with other cast members, will be conducting a workshop at the Ann Arbor Distirict Library during the weekend of the performances and perhaps other workshops in the area as well.

“Ah, Wilderness!” is directed by Douglas C. Wagner, a freelance director and a play discussion and reception will precede the performances.

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