Eugene O'Neill Festival to celebrate theater

Month-long arts series coming to Danville this fall

The Eugene O'Neill Festival is set to explore "The Art of Escape" through a series of events and theater productions from late August through mid-September.

O'Neill, who lived in Danville from 1937-44, was the only American playwright to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature and receive four Pulitzer Prizes for his works. This year marks the 15th annual festival honoring O'Neill's legacy.

Among the lineup of events are two theatrical performances presented by the Eugene O'Neill Foundation, Tao House, the National Park Service and the Danville Role Players Ensemble.

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams is set to open Sept. 5 and run eight shows through Sept. 20 at the Village Theatre in Danville. "The Iceman Cometh" by O'Neill is set to run six shows from Sept. 19-28 in the Old Barn at Tao House.

The two plays connect to the human yearning for escape by exploring the intersection between truth and fiction and the struggle to determine the role illusions play in everyday life, according to festival organizers.

Other festival events include:

* Eugene O'Neill "Sneak Peek" Festival Previews: A sneak peek at this year's festival -- get the inside scoop from the directors, designers and actors set to bring the classic productions to life this September. Admission is free. Locations are:

• Lafayette Library (3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd.) Thursday, Aug. 21 at 6:30 p.m.

• Danville Library (400 Front St.) Saturday, Aug. 23 at 1 p.m.

• Pleasanton Library (400 Old Bernal Ave.) Thursday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.

* The "Art of the Escape:" Two- and three-dimensional artwork influenced by the festival theme to be featured at the Village Theatre Art Gallery from Aug. 28 to Sept. 28. The gala opening and artists' reception is set for Aug. 29 at 5 p.m. Admission is free.

* "The Secrets of O'Neill in Danville:" An hour-long walking tour with stories about Danville and the O'Neills when they lived at Tao House from 1937-44.

Docent led tours are scheduled for two Saturdays, Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. and Sept. 27 at 1 p.m.

Admission is free.

* "Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams and The Art of the Escape:" A panel discussion on the festival's featured playwrights with a focus on the role of "escape" in their works and lives, hosted by the Museum of the San Ramon Valley on Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. Admission is $12.

* "Truth, Lies and Illusions:" An afternoon of short scenes presented by theater companies from around the Bay Area exploring stories that are told in an effort to cope with one's circumstances. The event is set for Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. in the Old Barn at Tao House. Admission is $25.

For more information or to reserve event tickets, visit The Eugene O'Neill Foundation webpage or the Danville Role Players Ensemble website.


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