Updated June 12

Sure enough. I found something compelling to share with you on this, the day of the Tony Awards. wink

The Tony Awards website has made their All Access page available now!

Here you will find information about live-streaming for the Red Carpet and Behind-the-Scenes, how international viewers can watch the Awards, and more!

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And finally (I think!), a personal wish for Our Man of the Hour:

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I’ll say farewell for now. See ya’ll after the Tony Awards! heart

Updated June 11

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This is likely to be the last update before the Tony Awards Ceremony tomorrow, Sunday, at 8:00pm ET, in New York City. Unless, of course, something compelling comes my way and I must share it with you!

I thought a reminder of what drives an actor to take on such a demanding role as this is would be in order.

From the Tony Actors Roundtable:

GABRIEL BYRNE Yeah, and there’s a ruthless kind of honesty to it, even to O’Neill’s titles — for example, it’s not called Long Night’s Journey Into Day, because the ruthless honesty of his writing is that we are all headed for night, and there’s no cozy resolution, no “closure” at the end of it. His wife described him coming out of the room where he wrote this play bloodless, shaking, in tears, and he refused to have the play performed during his lifetime because I think he must’ve felt enormous shame and guilt about having subjected his family to this kind of microscopic, emotional and psychological observation. Not to be too pretentious about it, but I’ve always felt that like — especially in O’Neill — the role of the actor is to say, “Okay, he wrote this and it cost him an enormous amount to do it. My job is to take what he’s written, and as best as I can, good, bad or indifferently, present it to those people who’ve come in.” It feels to me that as an actor, you get to feel very powerfully your sense in the chain of handing it on.

Yes.

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Updated June 10

The Boston Globe has published its Tony Award predictions. Their analysis is in line with most of the articles predicting the winners and losers of this year’s race and there are no surprises here really: Long Day’s Journey Into Night will NOT win for Best Revival of a Play and Jessica Lange “Should Win/Will Win” for Best Leading Actress in a Play.

But wait! What’s this?

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Will Win: Frank Langella, “The Father”

Should Win: Gabriel Byrne, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”

Also nominated: Mark Strong, “A View From the Bridge”; Jeff Daniels, “Blackbird”; Tim Pigott-Smith, “King Charles III”

Strong’s titanic portrayal of a Brooklyn longshoreman with eyes “like tunnels” and a roiling stew of repressed emotions has long been the favorite. But this race has heated up. As the whiskey-soused James Tyrone, Byrne captured the character’s mix of maudlin bluster, prideful self-delusion, and bitter regret. Meanwhile, Langella recently pocketed Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for his harrowing portrait of a man whose mind is unraveling from the ravages of dementia. Could those laurels be a harbinger of Tony night, or can Strong hold him off? Bet on three-time Tony winner Langella, 78, to nab his fourth trophy.

We agree. Gabriel Byrne SHOULD win. They do not even mention Jeff Daniels, who has received a lot of backing for his work in Blackbird. But all the odds-makers are standing behind Frank Langella, who is predicted to take home his fourth Tony Award on Sunday.

gb-theater-talk-20160603-screencap-01What will happen? Who knows? I will be there, self-styled, thank you very much.

Don’t worry. I have a Gabriel Byrne Inspirational Wallpaper all set to go on Sunday night, win or lose. wink

Speaking of images, here are a few behind-the-scenes/outtakes from the David Needleman photoshoot for The Hollywood Reporter.

These should make us happy. For now.

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Updated June 7

Ladies and Gentlemen, nominated for the 2016 TONY award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, Mr. Gabriel Byrne for Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Photo by David Needleman for The Hollywood Reporter.

Updated June 6

Gabriel Byrne talks about the play he is performing today and the first play he ever attended with his mother in Dublin:

 

Here is Gabriel Byrne on Theater Talk:

The press keeps pressing on towards the Tony Awards Ceremony on June 12. Check out our favorite nominee in the roundtable and  interviews below.

The Hollywood Reporter Tony Actor Roundtable Rapid Fire Questions

They had a lot of fun with this segment!

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Gabriel Byrne: confessions of a contender

The Tony Awards Best Actor nominee talks to Max McGuinness at the Financial Times about success, prizes and Catholic guilt

On the whole, Byrne conveys a genial presence, but his faint curmudgeonly streak suggests that he shares some sense of the “simmering violence” that he attributes to Tyrone. During a performance a few days before our interview, he sought to demonstrate this aspect of the character by lashing out at the top of an antique chair, which promptly split in two. I happened to be in the audience and assumed this was a carefully planned piece of stagecraft. But those working backstage were less impressed. “You can’t be kicking antique chairs,” they told him.

“It’s been fixed,” he sighs, “but I’m not allowed to kick it any more.”

The broken chair demonstrates how Byrne works hard to vary his performance every night. This is necessary, he says, to maintain the production’s surprising comic energy. For instance, late in the play, he transforms an argument about the cost of attending a sanatorium with Tyrone’s consumptive younger son (played with doom-laden exasperation by John Gallagher, Jr.) into a piece of darkly humorous badinage hinging on Byrne’s mordant delivery of the qualifier “within reason”.

It’s a moment, in Byrne’s hands, that seems more typical of Beckett or Pinter than O’Neill. He tries not to overdo it however: “Give them a laugh, but don’t pander.” And he sums up with a final piece of succinct actorly advice: “Control the play, don’t let it control you.”

Be sure to read this article. Mr. Byrne offers a bit of fashion advice, in addition to his always cogent remarks about the play and what it means to him.

gb-financial-times-20160527-02Mr. Byrne’s well-appointed dressing room smile

Gabriel Byrne, Jessica Lange, and Michael Shannon on the Leonard Lopate Radio Show

Listen to Leonard Lopate’s interview with these three actors as they talk about their experiences working on Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Jessica Lange in Long Day’s Journey into Night: “I Like Dark Places”

This Huffington Post article is quite short, but offers a very intriguing last paragraph with Gabriel Byrne:

Family is at the play’s center: for O’Neill, love itself will not save you from its terrors. Michael Shannon quoted his friend the playwright and actor Tracy Letts: there is so much love in family, but also the desperate need to get away. Gabriel Byrne noted of the drunken characters, “Alcohol is a way to be ruthlessly honest, an excuse to remove the mask.” Brutal and bare as he rues James Tyrone’s missed chances, Byrne said he looks into the black hole of the audience and imagines he sees O’Neill in the fifth row.

Finally, Aidan Connolly, Executive Director of the Irish Arts Center in New York City, posted this “campaign” button on Twitter. I like it! heart

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Stay tuned here for more Tony Awards updates as they happen!

12 Comments

  1. Thanks for these Stella. I had the privilege of seeing Gabriel’s incredible performance in this searing play on Sunday June 5. The play is still clobbering around in my brain even today. Mr. Byrne brought great complexity to his character. There were moments of bombast and seething anger breaking to the surface, regret and tenderness, playfulness and wry humour. All played masterfully.

    But it was his stillness that has undone me. And his evocative silences, particularly effective during the soliloquies of some of the other players. While they ACTED out their scene, his stillness conveyed so much. Pain, sorrow, fear, disgust, love. It was mesmerizing (a word I used later when I spoke very briefly with Gabriel Byrne, the man – but it lost its meaning somehow in the brilliant sunshine of the NYC street – when the fourth wall is scaled it is really difficult to articulate one ‘s reactions to an artist’s work) Anyway, this relationship between the actors, you can really only experience in the context of a stage play. The range of emotions rippling across his face , registering all the way to us in the balcony gave this tyrannical miser some humanity. That cringing, broken man in the wicker chair, wincing with every word of rebuke his son screams at him for his misanthrope ways. It was hard to watch but it took my breath away. How does he do this? Without a word of dialogue. Only his body crumpled sideways in that damn chair, his head turned into it, his shaking hands warding off the hateful words as if they were blows, his handsome face a shadowed grimace. What is this reservoir ? How deep it must flow and rise. What one must leave of oneself on that stage floor every night..

    Thank you Mr. Byrne for taking this collossal on. And when it was over, you left the stage arm in arm with Ms. Lange who brought me to tears in her final scene.

    A few minutes later as my daughter (an artist living in NYC) and I pushed through the exit doors of the now empty theatre into the mad cacophony of a 21st century sidewalk on a bright Sunday afternoon, I could have sworn I caught a glimpse of Mr. O’Neill slowly lifting himself out of a seat in the fifth row, his face numb with love and sorrow, but he was nodding in approval, he was nodding in approval.

    Angelle from Canada

    • Angelle, oh my god. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience with us here.

      Almost a month later and I still have images and words from the play and from my brief meeting with Mr. Byrne rattling around in my head.

      I hope never to recover.

      <3

    • Angelle, what a beautiful write-up! Thank you for sharing it. Your thoughts on the spirit of Mr. O’Neill gave me chills.

      • Thanks Kristen. I read your review and enjoyed it. I also know exactly how you felt at the barricade when you met Mr. Byrne. I could barely get my words out, and when I did they weren’t the words I was searching for. That play is still confounding my brain…images and words darting in and out of my thoughts as I immerse myself back into my work since my return from NYC.

  2. Thank you, Stella for posting all the information about the play “Long day’s journey into night “. I have not seen this play onstage but I have read this play which has absolutely impressed me. I have also read and listened to all the interviews of Gabriel Byrne, Jessica Lange, Michael Shannon and John Gallagher Jr. about their process of acting and their feelings for this play.
    I also like your essay about the play and other reviews of people who were lucky to see it.
    I appreciate and admire Mr.Byrne as brilliant, unique, hardworking actor and great man. This is tremendous work he does everyday in the theatre and it demands total commitment. I can hardly imagine how difficult it must be to live the life of his character day by day onstage.
    Gabriel Byrne will be forever in my mind the best James Tyrone and Jessica Lange will be the best Mary Tyrone.
    No doubts, Long day’s journey into night is unforgettable, fabulous performance on Broadway and deserves all possible awards.

    • I agree, Violetta! All the awards possible!

      There is so much competition. So many good plays on Broadway. So many deserving nominees. ACK! I wish everyone could receive recognition from their fellow artists at the Tony Awards ceremony. And they will. Whether an award is given to them or not. ;-)

      This was such a mesmerizing and unforgettable production. I hope they do film it. That would be wonderful for all those who did not have a chance to see it live on the stage–and that is most people, actually! So I am crossing my fingers and hoping for this amazing play to be captured for all to see. <3

  3. Re: the Theatre Talk video: I was at that performance, the opening day of previews. That knock Gabriel refers to was so utterly horrifying. It wasn’t just one knock either. It was a series of knocks, the door handle jiggling, and then the person started pounding on the door with his or her fist. Someone from the theatre finally had to crack the door open and tell the person to go away. I have a constant feeling of anxiety for stage actors during any performance. It’s exactly what Gabriel talks about here: I’m very aware of everything that could go wrong just by the nature of a live performance. When that happened, I felt mortified for Jessica. She handled it like a champ though, like the professional she is. She didn’t even flinch. When I learned later it was someone trying to deliver a pizza, I wanted to find that person and throttle them. What would possess anybody to pound on a closed theatre door?

    • Oh, I would have been horrified too. But that is the nature of live performance. Everyone has to go with the flow, even when the flow is someone trying to deliver a stupid pizza! ;-)

      I was at the performance during which Mr. Byrne broke the chair. There was a gasp in the audience and then everything just moved along normally. I assumed he meant to do it! Only later did he tell me: “You never know what’s going to happen on stage. Today I broke the chair!” A little glimpse into the strange and wonderful world of live theater!

  4. Thank you to Stella for sharing all this information, interviews and videos about Gabriel Byrne and this play.
    It is also very interesting to read the comments above.
    It is a strong text in this play and very demanding for the actors/actresses.

    As far as I can understand Gabriel Byrne is just fantastic in this role.
    Hope he gets the recognition he deserves for that.

    • I continue to update this posting with news and pics and I am so pleased to see people commenting about Gabriel Byrne’s work in this play.

      Nora, he was amazing. No, he was fantastic. Maybe riveting is a better adjective. Maybe there are no adjectives to describe his performance. No single words to explain his achievement and the power of his effect. Angelle gets really close to the heart of the matter for me. I was thinking almost this exact thought after the play was over:

      “How does he do this? Without a word of dialogue. Only his body crumpled sideways in that damn chair, his head turned into it, his shaking hands warding off the hateful words as if they were blows, his handsome face a shadowed grimace. What is this reservoir ? How deep it must flow and rise. What one must leave of oneself on that stage floor every night…”

      I think many have recognized his accomplishment. Whether he wins on Sunday or not. And I’m so happy that he took on this role. He approached that mountain and he climbed it, night after night. I know I sound like his mother when I say: I’m so proud of him! :-)

  5. I love it. Break a Chair !!! You are right Stella – whether he wins or not at the TONY’s his achievement in LDJIN has been recognized. What courage to return to Broadway in an especially challenging role. But then again , has he ever taken the easy route? Isn’t that what is part of the attraction of Gabriel Byrne?

    Look at his choice of roles in the past 10 years. They make us ponder our own lives – what is a family? what is a man? why can’t we escape who we are? is love enough ? can we keep our eyes and our hearts open? : Emotional Arithmetic (concentration camp survivor), Wah Wah (Expatriate Alcoholic father), Jindabyne (Stewart is Everyman), Spider (dual role in one character), Louder than Bombs (Widower) , and of course, the tour de force that was Paul Weston.

    After these films, and the earlier two O’Neill marathons, he chose to tackle what is considered to be the greatest American play about family! I can’t wait to see what he will take on next.

    Angelle

  6. DEAR STELLA ONCE MORE THANKS FOR ALL THAT NEWS , ABOUT THE INTERPRETATION OF OUR GABRIEL IN LDJIN, FOR ALL THE VIDEOS IN THE THEATER AND DURING THE TONY AWARDS , PHOTOGRAPHS ,COMMENTARIES. I SHALL WISH TO BE MORE NEAR AND GO THERE TO SEE HIM . HE DOES NOT WIN THE TONY , BUT HIS TONY IS IN OUR HEARTS , BECAUSE HE IS THE BEST FOR US AND I AM IN ACCORD WITH VIOLETTA IN ALL WHAT SHE WROTE ,,,ABOUT HIS FILMS AND MOVIS HE HAS A GREAT COMPROMISE IN ALL HIS ROLES .EVER TOGETHER NEAR YOU AND OUR GABRIEL .

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