On Thursday April 18 (Patriots' Day), we will discuss "A Moon for the Misbegotten" (1943), the last completed work of Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953). Perhaps America's greatest dramatist, O'Neill won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama four times and is the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Moon, a sequel to his autobiographical "Long Day's Journey Into Night," carries the story of O'Neill's older brother, Jamie, to its tragic conclusion. "Everything about it is so tremendous," wrote Richard Watts, "that it reduces almost every other modern drama to virtual pettiness." Clive Barnes called it "one of the great plays of the 20th century," while Walter Kerr thought it "A beautiful play, possibly O'Neill's best."

We will meet at Luna Books, 1633 P St., NW (the third floor of Cafe Luna, three blocks east of DuPont Circle) (202-332-2543). Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and our discussion at 7:30. Make your reservations early by calling Joy Hurwitz if you live in Maryland (301-330-1608), Mark Gruenberg (202-338-7013, eve & 638-0444, day) (DC), or Mary-Margaret McGrail (703-751-8126) (VA).

Footlights members can purchase "A Moon for the Misbegotten" for a discount at Backstage Books, 2101 P St., NW (775-1488); Super Crown, 11 DuPont Circle, NW (319-1374) and the White Flint Mall (301-770-6729); Olsson's, 1307 19th St., NW (785-1133); and Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW (364-1919).



Members of Footlights have organized outings to the following shows in April: "An Almost Holy Picture" at the Round House Theatre (call Ruth Pierce at 301-897-5987) and "Candide" at the Arena Stage Saturday night April 20 (call Joel Markowitz at 301-590-0711).


Switzerland has produced two great playwrights: Friedrich Durrenmatt and Max Frisch. In 1968 Durrenmatt wrote an adaptation of "The Dance of Death" (part I), eliminating all the minor characters and dividing the play into "rounds" (as a boxing match). In Durrenmatt's own words, "Out of a bourgeois marriage tragedy developed a comedy about bourgeois marriage tragedies," which he called "Play Strindberg" (one translator renamed it "Strindberg Without Tears").

The Washington Stage Guild will present "Play Strindberg" from April 24-May 26. Call 202-529-2084 for tickets.