Conversation: Brian Dennehy and Robert Falls

BY Arts Desk  February 6, 2009 at 12:24 PM EST

Brian Dennehy, Robert Falls, Eugene O’Neill…It’s become one of this generation of theater’s great relationships.

Actor, Dennehy, and director, Falls, have teamed up for nearly all of O’Neill’s classics, including “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which earned Dennehy a Tony Award for best actor in 2003.

Now, they’re at it again, with “Desire Under the Elms,” part of an ambitious six-play festival of O’Neill at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, where Falls is artistic director.

“Desire Under the Elms” is the story of some brutal realities faced by a family on a rugged New England farm. Dennehy plays Ephraim Cabot, father of three sons, who returns home with a much younger new wife. And, to put it mildly, family troubles ensue.

Falls and Dennehy joined me by phone from Chicago: