Playwrights’ Theatre

 Thanks to all our patrons for joining us at the

Old Barn, Tao House

for May Playwrights’ Theatre this year.

We hope it was enjoyed by all!

See you at the 2017 Eugene O’Neill Festival in September.



Shell Shock by Eugene O’Neill

Directed by Chloe Bronzan


The Rescue by Rita Creighton Smith 

Directed by Eric Fraisher Hayes


These two short plays will be performed back-to-back on both dates,

followed by a discussion led by the director

Saturday, May 6 at 8PM and

Sunday , May 7 at 2PM

Get your tickets HERE


Profiles in Courage: Men, Women and Mental Illness
During the dawn of the 20th century, ideas of what it is to be human were evolving. The field of modern psychology was emerging as a major force shaping our views of the human experience. The writers of the Provincetown Players, a newly formed theatre collective searching for the authentic voice of America, were charging into this new territory known as human psychology. Mental illness as an explanation for the challenges of our lives was new concept still meeting a great deal of resistance. The type or extent of the society’s resistance had many components. A primary force or filter affecting perceptions and treatments of mental illness was (and in some ways still is) gender.
This May, Playwrights’ Theatre will feature two of these Provincetown voices delving into the relationship of gender and mental illness. With Rita Creighton Smith’s The Rescue, we have a story of a family of women coping with the prospect of inherited madness and how to best address it. With Eugene O’Neill’s Shell Shock, a man struggles to make sense of his war time experience and the burden it has placed on his psyche. “Both of these short plays represent an early attempt to start our ongoing and ever-evolving dialogue about the role of mental illness in our lives and the lives of those we love” says EONF Artistic Director Eric Fraisher Hayes. “This unique pairing lends a deeper understanding to the role gender plays in shaping our ideas of mental illness.”
The performances of Shell Shock and The Rescue will be presented as a collaboration between the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House and Symmetry Theatre Company of San Francisco. Symmetry is a professional company committed to addressing issues of gender parity in theatre and society. Additionally, both performances will be followed with a lively discussion of the relationship of gender and mental illness led by scholars and the artists involved in creating this presentation.

   Cast for May Playwrights’ Theatre, 2017 left to right, top to bottom: 

        Aaron  Wilton, Chad Deverman, Joan Grant, Danielle Levin, Phoebe Moyer,  Willem Long



About Playwrights’ Theatre


Initiated in 1996 by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House in collaboration with the National Park Service, Playwrights’ Theatre presents staged readings of O’Neill’s plays by professional directors and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Playwrights’ Theatre frequently performs works by playwrights who influenced O’Neill, or were influenced by him—including new playwrights.

Past Productions

January 2017
Dynamo (O’Neill), dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes

Spring 2016
O’Neill: the Rhythms of His Soul (Written by Dan Cawthon. Based on The Eugene O’Neill Songbook by Travis Bogard), dir: Rachael Robinsn.

January 2016
Beyond the Horizon (O’Neill) dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes

Spring 2015
Waiting for Lefty (Clifford Odets), dir. Chad Deverman
Golden Boy (Clifford Odets), dir. Phoebe Moyer

January, 2015
Hughie (O’Neill) dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes

Spring, 2014
A View from the Bridge (Arthur Miller) dir. Joy Carlin
El Paso Blue (Octavio Solis)

January, 2014
Short Plays inspired by O’Neill dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes
From San Francisco PlayGround, Playwrights’ Guild of Pear Avenue, and Eugene O’Neill Studio Retreat

Spring, 2013
The Cherry Orchard (Anton Chekhov) dir. George Maguire
The Lady From the Sea (Henrik Ibsen) dir. Susannah Martin

January, 2013
More Stately Mansions (O’Neill), dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes

Spring, 2012
Short scenes from PlayGround, SF, dir. Josy Miller
Exorcism (O’Neill) dir. Dan Cawthon
Diff’rent (O’Neill) dir. Lois Grandi

January, 2012
The Straw (O’Neill), dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes

Spring, 2011
Short Scenes from PlayGround, SF., dir. Joel Roster and Ken Sonkin
Where the Cross is Made (O’Neill), dir. Josy Miller
Gold (O’Neill), dir. Daren Carollo

January, 2011
Bound East for Cardiff (O’Neill) dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes
In the Zone (O’Neill) dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes
The Long Voyage Home (O’Neill), dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes

Spring, 2010
Desire Under the Elms (O’Neill), dir. Soren Oliver
Track of the Cat (Graeme Maley), dir. Graeme Maley
Short Scenes from PlayGround, SF, dir. Josy Miller & Eric Fraisher Hayes

January, 2010
A Touch of the Poet (O’Neill), dir. Eric Frasher Hayes

Spring, 2009
Born Tired (new play) Bevin Lew, dir. Bevin Lew
The Sniper (O’Neill) dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes
The Movie Man (O’Neill), dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes
Shell Shock (O’Neill), dir. Eric Fraisher Hayes

Spring, 2008
Blood Mirage (new play) Jeremy Hargraves, dir. Michael Ward
Revelations (scenes from Anna Christie, Mourning Becomes Electra), dir. Michael Ward
Welded (O’Neill), dir. Josy Miller

Spring, 2007
This Is Not My Life (new play), Adam Sandel, dir. Michael Ward
Now I Ask You (O’Neill), dir. Daren A. Carollo

Spring, 2006
Pear Slices, (8 brief original plays) Pear Avenue Theatre, dir. Diane Tasca
The Typographer’s Dream (Bock), Encore Theatre Company, dir. Lisa Steindler

Spring, 2005
Overtures (Gerstenberg), dir. M. O’Neill
Before Breakfast (Eugene O’Neill), dir. M. O’Neill
Enemies (Boyce/Hapgood), dir. M. O’Neill
E.G.O: The Passions of Eugene Gladstone O’Neill (Morello), dir. Dan Cawthon

Spring, 2004
The Lonesome West (McDonagh), Namaste Theatre Company, dir. M. Uppendahl
Fog (O’Neill) dir. Lois Grandi
Thirst (O’Neill), dir. Lois Grandi
Recklessness (O’Neill), dir. Dan Cawthon
Suppressed Desires (Glaspell and Cook), dir. Dan Cawthon

Spring, 2003
Into the Wake of the Moon—written and performed by Kurt Gravenhorst
The Great God Brown—Oakland Public Theatre, dir. Norman Gee

Spring, 2002
Hairy Ape (O’Neill)—Marin Theatre Company, dir. Lee Sankowich
Where the Cross is Made (O’Neill) – Namaste Theatre Company, dir. Mike Uppendahl
’Ile (O’Neill) -Namaste Theatre Company, dir. Mike Uppendahl
The Rope (O’Neill) -Namaste Theatre Company, dir. Mike Uppendahl

Spring, 2001
Servitude (O’Neill), dir. Tom Ross
Abortion (O’Neill), dir. Lois Grandi
Red Carnations (Hughes), dir. Lois Grandi
Bound East for Cardiff (Eugene O’Neill), dir. Andrea Gordon
In the Zone (O’Neill), dir. Andrea Gordon

Spring, 2000
Riders to the Sea (Synge), dir. Joy Carlin
Overtures (Gerstenberg), dir. Joy Carlin
Diff’rent (O’Neill), dir. Dan Cawthon
Freedom (Reed), dir. Alan McElvey
Shell Shock (O’Neill), dir. Alan McElvey

Spring, 1999
Recklessness (O’Neill), dir. Jan Erlendson
Another Way Out (Langer), dir. Jan Erlendson
A Wife for a Life (O’Neill), dir. Nancy Carlin
Lovers—Winners (Friel), dir. Nancy Carlin
Welded (O’Neill), dir. Dan Cawthon

Spring, 1998
’Ile (O’Neill), dir. Dan Cawthon
Aria Da Capo (St. Vincent Millay), dir. Dan Cawthon
The Web (O’Neill), dir. Ed Hastings
Hello Out There (Saroyan), dir. Ed Hastings
Miss Julie (Strindberg), dir. Barbara Oliver

Spring, 1997
The Outside (Glaspell), dir. Joy Carlin
Trifles (Glaspell), dir. Joy Carlin
Fog (O’Neill), dir. Dan Cawthon
Thirst (O’Neill), dir. Dan Cawthon
The Emperor Jones (O’Neill), dir. Ed Hastings

Spring, 1996
Constancy (Neith Boyce), dir. Joy Carlin
Suppressed Desires (Glaspell and Cook), dir. Joy Carlin
Before Breakfast (O’Neill), dir. Barbara Oliver
My Heart’s in the Highlands (Saroyan), dir. Barbara Oliver
The Rope (O’Neill), dir. Ed Hastings
Where the Cross is Made (O’Neill), dir. Ed Hastings