Organizers have announced plans and events for the annual September Festival that honors Eugene O’Neill -- America’s most noted playwright.
O’Neill’s Anna Christie (1921) will open September 6, and continue through September 21 at the Village Theatre in downtown Danville, produced by RPE.
The Eugene O’Neill Foundation will present O’Neill’s Chris Christophersen (1920) for four performances, September 26-29 in the Old Barn at Tao House, located at the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in the Danville hills.
With an overall theme of “O’Neill versus O’Neill,” the two plays follow a similar story line, but represent two very different worlds. In the 1920’s, playwright O’Neill moved from the romantic and melodramatic style of the 19th century to a more realistic and physiological style developing in the 20th century.
“Audiences attending both productions will have a rare opportunity to view this juxtaposition of dramatic styles,” says Eric Fraisher Hayes, artistic director for Role Players Ensemble, as well as director of programs for the O’Neill Foundation.
“To make it more interesting, the two productions will utilize the same company of actors. It’s two plays, one story, one company of actors and two starkly different worlds,” said Hayes.
Several other events are scheduled during the month-long Festival which honors the only American playwright to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and to receive four Pulitzer Prizes for his works.
A corps of distinguished area playwrights and directors will discuss the transition from drama of the past to modern drama and the challenges of keeping classic plays fresh for modern audiences at a special panel discussion on Sunday, September 22 at 2:00 p.m. in the Old Barn at Tao House. KQED’s Michael Krasny will moderate the panel with Jasson Minadakis (artistic director of Marin Theatre Co.), Joy Carlin (long-time Bay area actress/director), Trevor Allen (playwright/director of San Francisco’s Black Box Theatre Company), and Rob Melrose (artistic director and co-founder of San Francisco’s Cutting Ball Theatre).
Schedule of events can be found here.
This year marks the 125th anniversary of Eugene O’Neill’s birth (1888 – 1953). A gala reception/birthday party is planned at Tao House prior to the Chris Christophersen performances on September 28 and September 29.
A screening of the 1930 MGM classic film of Anna Christie with Greta Garbo and Marie Dressler will be presented at the Village Theatre by Role Ensemble on Thursday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m.
An all-inclusive Festival Package ticket is available for all Festival events from Eugene O’Neill Foundation at www.eugeneoneill.org, or (925) 820-1818.
Information and tickets for Chris Christophersen and other Festival events (including the playwright/director panel and gala) is available from the O’Neill Foundation at www.eugeneoneill.org or (925) 820-1818.