The play is about a family, the Tyrone's, who disintegrate in front of you. While it is not a direct disintigration, it is strongly suggested that the family falls apart. The mother is a morphine addict...she lives in the past and blames the entire family for her addiction. The sons are alcoholics and relative loafers while the father is an architypical father trying to hold the family together.
The mother takes an absolute nose dive as the play goes on. Originally, it is suggested about what is wrong with her but never elucidated and as it goes on you see more and more of her destruction. In the final scene she is absolutely destroyed and give on of the best lines. She suffers from something many people suffer from...her best days are behind her. Instead of finding something new to strive for, the goal of her life was to get married and once she did that, she could never find anything new to strive for leading to her destruction.
The sons never wanted anything. They had nothing to strive for and thusly just ambled through life. Jamie was the biggest loafer and wanted nothing more then just to drink and fuck his way through life. Edmund, we find out as the play goes on is dying from consumption...in essence it is tuberculousus. Edumund showed promise in trying finally for something when he realized that he was dying and that is the only time he tried for something.
The father is the orothoginal opposite of the rest of the family and this creates the conflict in the play.
The play, the first act starts at a very even level as things are getting set up and then as time goes by, it just goes further and further down hill to an utter collapse at the end.
Originally, since I read this play to begin with, I did not realize it was that long but in its original form, it is a 4.5 hour long play. It was cut down by the director to a svelt 3.5 hours. I would have rather seen the full play for the total impact of it, but the Theater in the Round can be horribly uncomfortable unless you have a isle seat. In its totality, it is more than worth seeing and if you cry at movies, you will cry at play.