At the start of his dramatic career (carriera di drammaturgo), Eugene O’Neill wrote seven one-act plays (atti unici): The Long Voyage Home, The Moon of the Caribees, Bound East for Cardiff, In the Zone, The Rope, Ile and Where the Cross is Made. All these plays form a cycle and are a striking illustration of O’Neill’s remarkable ability to create dramatic tension and atmosphere. The American-Irish playwright wrote these plays in 1916-17 after spending a year at sea (1910-11), during which he suffered from depression and alcoholism. Moreover his parents and older brother died within three years (entro tre anni) of one another, and O’Neill turned to (si diede) writing as a form of escape (fuga). But despite (a dispetto) his depression, he had a deep love (profondo amore) for the sea, and it became a major theme in most of his plays. The plays were performed (furono recitate) first in Provincetown Players theatre then inGreenwich Village Playhouse. The real only hero of all these plays is the sea. The first four plays share (condividono) the same setting, the ship S.S. Glencairn, and some characters, the mariners Driscoll, Cocky, Ivan, Smitty and Olson. The plots are simple: a man is dying and recalls his past life; a young mariner would like to stop and settle down in a farm but is drugged and delivered (drogato e trasportato) on a boat with no return; a crew (ciurma) is obsessed by the war time (tempo di Guerra) paranoia and is frightened (spaventata) by an unreal U-boat (sottomarino); a mariner is never involved (coinvolto) in the usual past times of his fellows and is always alone with his secret thoughts ; a man is haunted (perseguitato) by the idea of a treasure till his madness involves even his son; an old man is waiting for the arrival of a son who only wants his money and a captain does not want to sail back without the proper load of whale oil (giusto carico di olio di balena) and drives his wife mad (fa diventare pazza la moglie). The real novelty is the language which follows these characters and depicts their personalities and their moods. O’Neill reproduces the language heard on ships by uneducated, illiterate people, who cannot express their hidden feelings and anguish. The setting is simple, bare (spoglio), stylized.