Strange Interlude


Writers: Eugene O'Neill


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Period, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
New England, New York, 1920s
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Regional Theatre, Professional Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, mature adult, young adult characters


At almost five hours long, Eugene O’Neill’s epic nine-act play is one of his most experimental pieces, using regular soliloquies to delve into each characters’ psychology. It depicts 25 years of the life of Nina Leeds and the important men within it. As a young woman, Nina loses her beloved fiancé during World War I. Nina subsequently blames both herself and her father for failing to marry him before he left and therefore consummate the marriage. In an effort to rid herself of guilt, she throws herself into the arms of every man she comes across until finally entering a loveless marriage with Sam Evans. While pregnant with Sam’s child, Nina learns that insanity runs in the Evans family. She takes the decision to abort their child and quickly falls pregnant once more, this time by her friend and physician Ned Darrell. Nina’s marriage continues with Sam believing the child to be his, but behind closed doors Nina and Ned embark on a passionate affair. When Sam dies, Nina chooses not to marry Ned but instead finally fulfills the wishes of her most ardent supporter and admirer, Charles Marsden, who honestly believes that he has finally won her heart. The play ends with Nina’s description of life as simply a “strange interlude” that occurs between birth and death.

Lead Characters

Strange Interlude guide sections