Hughie is a long monologue spoken by a small time Broadway gambler, Erie Smith. In the early hours of the morning he talks to an almost mute, somnolent night clerk. Erie's only companion had been the former night clerk, Hughie, whose death has left Erie adrift in a dead city full of frightening hostility (Travis Bogard, Contour in Time).
Director José Quinrero: "A major image in the play is the elevator in the lobby, which would take Erie up to his hotel room. He rings for it, it comes down, the door opens, but he delays entering and continues trying to reach the night clerk with his remembrances of Hughie. He's trying to save his own life...the elevator is a journey up to death." Quintero cites the parallel to O'Neill's own life: when close to death he and his wife, Carlotta rode up the elevator to the hotel room in Boston, where he would soon utter his own words: "Born in a hotel room...and God damn it...died in a hotel room."
During the play the Night Clerk's thoughts are heard, reflecting little attention or interest in Erie's meditations. Originally these thoughts were meant to be merely suggestions by O'Neill as to what might be going on in the mind of an indifferent world. Quintero had brought them to life in this production of the play.
CastErie Smith: Jason Robards
A Night Clerk: Jack Dodson
Directed by: José Quintero
Recording & Sound Design by: Randy Thom
Artistic Director & Consultant: Travis Bogard
Produced by: Erik Bauersfeld
(See photo) Erie's Shoes