If you enjoy drunken ranting, some violence, and drama then The Hairy Ape, by Eugene O’Neill, is the perfect play for you. The story is about a New York fireman, Yank, who drinks, tries to act like he is the best, and is always trying to “tink”. Yank, and the rest of his firemen crew, are all drunks and they always argue and threaten one another, but usually people refer to them as Neanderthals or apes. The whole crew is against upper class society and always complain about it, then trying to claim they don’t want to be a part of it. They spit on the idea that they would live their lives like the rich and sophisticated. The story really gets started when the daughter of the crew’s boss comes down to watch them work. Yank wildly looks at her, while trying to build morale for his team, and she makes a disgusted face and refers to him as a “filthy beast”. This sends Yank into a fit of rage and he vows to take revenge on her and the upper class. He runs into a series of unfortunate mishaps like being imprisoned and not fitting in.
The play really focuses on what lower class means. The story outlines the disrespect upper class people show to the lesser of citizens. Yank learns the hard way what the world saw him as. He found out that he was just a particular individual that didn’t really belong anywhere.
By Craig S.