Desire Under the Elms

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When Ephraim Cabot brings his young bride Abbie home to their remote New England farm, he little foresees the turmoil that her arrival will bring his family. Ephraim’s youngest son at first loathes the newcomer, but when hatred gives way to lust, the resulting conflict threatens to rock the peaceful farm to its core.

Eugene O’Neill imagined Desire Under the Elms in its entirety one night as he slept, and the play has the passion and intensity of a fever dream. First produced in 1924, this twentieth-century American classic has the power and scope of ancient Greek drama, infused with O’Neill’s ravishing vision of rural life. We’re pleased to welcome back Hungarian theater and film director János Szász, well known to A.R.T. audiences for his riveting productions of Uncle Vanya, Marat/Sade, and Mother Courage.

“God’s lonesome, ain’t He? God’s hard an’ lonesome!”


The widower and patriarch Ephraim Cabot has abandoned his family farm to “learn God’s message,” leaving his three sons to till the rocky New England soil on their own. While their father is away, Simeon and Peter dream of the California gold rush while their younger, half-brother Eben plots to take possession of the farm for himself. In exchange for their shares of the property, Eben offers his brothers enough money to take them west. They agree, but Eben’s claims to the property are threatened when Ephraim returns after two months with a seductive young wife, Abbie, who has her own designs on the farm. Eben declares war on the newcomer, but his loathing soon gives way to lust. Drawn towards each other by an animal attraction, Abbie and Eben engage in a passionate affair. When Abbie conceives a child, Ephraim assumes the boy is his own. He informs Eben that he’s been disinherited by the new heir, and that the child was part of Abbie’s insidious scheme to take control of the farm. Eben rages against a desperate Abbie, who commits the unimaginable to prove her devotion to him.

a passionate tale of rural New England—all the power of Greek drama

Special Thanks to Production Sponsors
Priscilla and Richard Hunt
Patricia and Dick Chute


Eben Cabot Mickey Solis
Simeon Cabot Shawtane Bowen
Peter Cabot Peter Cambor
Ephraim Cabot Raymond J. Barry
Abbie Putnam Amelia Campbell
Ensemble Zofia Goszczynska, Richard Gilman, Risher Reddick, Rachel Redpath
movement director Doug Elkins
stage manager Chris De Camillis
dramaturgs Ryan McKittrick and Stella Gorlin
set design Riccardo Hernandez
costume design Edit Szücs
lighting design Christopher Akerlind
sound design David Remedios
voice and speech coach Nancy Houfek
New York casting Judy Bowman