Last week, Stranger theater editor Brendan Kiley made a mistake worthy of lifelong shame, somehow confusing Neil Simon with Eugene O'Neill. Brendan made a prompt apology, but can a mere apology suffice? Of course not, hence this quiz, through which Brendan will confirm his new and thorough understanding of these two ridiculously distinctive playwrights. Feel free to join in the fun!
Look at the photographs on the right. Correctly identify which is Eugene O’Neill and which is Neil Simon.
Below are a series of personal statements, biographical facts, and dialog samples, each one of which can be correctly attributed to either
A. Eugene O'Neill
B. Neil Simon
1. I was born in New York City, but my early life was most connected with New London, Connecticut, where I began my career with the "Provincetown Players," eventually becoming the most honored dramatist in American history.
2. I was born in New York City, where I began my career writing for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows.
3. My plays are known for introducing the dramatic realism pioneered by Chekhov, Ibsen, and Strindberg into American drama.
4. My plays are known for their New York settings, offbeat characters, and zingy one-liners.
5. I renounced my daughter Oona for marrying Charlie Chaplin when she was only 18.
6. I married and eventually divorced Marsha Mason.
7. "The tension in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Which is more than I can say for the liver."
8. "Don't cry. The damned don't cry."
9. I wrote The Odd Couple, and only an idiot would confuse me with the guy who wrote Long Day's Journey Into Night.
10. I wrote Long Day's Journey Into Night, and only an idiot would confuse me with the guy who wrote The Odd Couple.
Write a brief paragraph comparing and contrasting the respective ouvres of Neil Simon and Eugene O’Neill, paying special attention to stylistic differences between the writers, as well as the inherent stupidity of anyone who’d confuse the two, especially if he or she is the motherfucking theater editor of a newspaper (100 words max).