Painters, sculptors, writers and photographers have an opportunity to create their art at Tao House, Eugene O'Neill's former estate in Danville. O'Neill and his wife Carlotta lived at Tao House from 1937 to 1944 while O'Neill wrote such masterpieces as "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "The Iceman Cometh."
Each year, the Eugene O'Neill Foundation and the National Park Service invite artists to this inspiring location. Artists Days take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 9-10. For more information and to reserve a space, call 925-820-1818 or go to www.eugeneoneill.org.
Saint Mary's College Dance Department presents a dynamic program of new works by the school's distinguished dance faculty at 8 p.m. May 8-10, in LeFevre Theatre on the Moraga campus.
"Convergence" explores the theme from different points in space as dancers meet, merge and join together. For reservations, call 925-631-4670 or go to www.brownpapertickets.com.
Traditional African melodies interweave with jazz standards as the compelling story of "The Suit" unfolds at the American Conservatory Theater. Based on the short story by South African writer Can Themba, this music-infused adaptation by Peter Brook, Marie-Helene Estienne and Franck Krawczyk fascinates and baffles in equal measure.
Living in the Bohemian township of Sophiatown in Johannesburg, South Africa, a devoted young husband discovers his beautiful wife with another man. The man jumps out the window wearing only his underwear, leaving his suit behind. As her punishment, the wife must treat the suit as an honored guest -- feeding it dinner, taking it with them on walks and more. When the humiliation becomes too great, events take a tragic turn.
The international cast features New Jersey's Jordan Barbour in multiple roles, Ugandan-born actor Ivanno Jeremiah as the husband and South Africa's Nonhlanhla Kheswa as the wife. Guitarist Arthur Astier, pianist Mark Christine and trumpet player Mark Kavuma not only provide the music (beautifully sung by Kheswa), but they also provide comic relief as various townspeople.
Oria Puppo's colorful scenic elements and costumes provide a whimsical atmosphere that belies the intensity of the story where silence can be as powerful as language.
"The Suit" continues through May 18. Call 415-749-2228 or go to www.act-sf.org.
I finally made it over to the closing weekend of Contra Costa Civic Theatre's outstanding production of "August: Osage County." The well-wrought show featured an incredibly detailed multilevel set by Kuo-Hao Lo.
While the theater is in El Cerrito, many involved in the production are well known to Contra Costa audiences. Director Marilyn Langbehn, longtime marketing/PR manager for Cal Shakes, has directed for several local groups including Diablo Actor's Ensemble and costume designer Lisa Danz keeps busy creating wonderful pieces for Role Players Ensemble among many others. Playing the difficult role of Violet is local favorite Ann Kendrick. Many will remember her from DAE's "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Gin Game" as well as several productions at Town Hall in Lafayette.
"Violet was one of the most difficult roles I've ever done," says Kendrick. "Memorizing her jumbled speeches when she was on drugs posed a real challenge."
Three hundred smiling faces recently reminded me why I perform and attend theater. Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending Fantasy Forum's school performance of "Cinderella" at the Lesher Center. Many of the youngsters in the audience had never been to live theater before, and they were so thrilled they could hardly sit still. What a treat for a grizzled old theater veteran like me. Thank you Diablo Regional Arts Association, which paid for the tickets and buses, for treating these youngsters to an experience they'll never forget and for reminding me why live performance is so special.
For those young ones who love to sing, Contra Costa Children's Chorus will hold placement interviews on May 28 for its fall season. Interviews and rehearsals take place at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 1035 Carol Lane, in Lafayette. A new program, Metrognoms, for 4- to 6-year-olds does not require an interview. For more information, go to www.childrenschorus.org.
Contact Sally Hogarty at firstname.lastname@example.org.