“A Moon for the Misbegotten,” performed by Pear Avenue Theatre on the last weekend of September, was the highlight of this year’s Eugene O’Neill Festival in Danville, California.
Hosted by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation and Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, the festival also included an art exhibit, new exhibits in the house, and interpretive talks highlighting the history of the site. The festival began in early September with eight performances of “Ah, Wilderness,” O’Neill’s only comedy, performed by Role Players Ensemble in the Village Theater.
The last of six plays written at Tao house (the name the O’Neills gave their home), “A Moon for the Misbegotten” was also the last play O’Neill ever wrote. The play was performed in the 19th Century barn that was onsite when the O’Neill’s bought the property.
The Eugene O’Neill Foundation provided dinners on two nights for guests in the Tao house courtyard before the performances. The home was open to view some of the special items on exhibit.
Over the four performances nearly 250 people were able to attend this magical production, with a full moon rising, just 100 yards from where it was written 68 years ago.
The actors were as excited as the audience for this romantic tragedy to unfold. The search for solace, unconditional love and freedom from guilt are O’Neill staples in this dramatic play. Visitor’s reactions to his plays always vary, but this, like most, brought laughter, sadness and stunned silence to the emotional hard truths Eugene O’Neill gave all his works.
Every September the Eugene O’Neill Festival celebrates America’s greatest playwright and highlights his contributions and influences on world theater.