Touring Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House

Did you know Eugene O’Neill’s house and office in Danville — where he wrote Long Day’s Journey Into Night, The Iceman Cometh, and A Moon for the Misbegotten — is a national park that offers tours? Yesterday, M and I got a chance to check it out because Eric Frashier Hayes, my actor/director friend from PlayGround, is on the Eugene O’Neill Foundation’s board.

I snapped the photo above as we were leaving O’Neill’s office. The woman who stepped into my shot was the park ranger who gave the tour. She has a theater background, and her enthusiasm for O’Neill made the tour fascinating every step of the way, from the little room with the player piano where O’Neill used to hang out with his dog, to the swimming pool with the unbelievable view of Mount Diablo.

The desk is the precise desk where he wrote those plays, oftentimes holding onto his trembling hand so he could make tiny little scratches on a sheet of paper, leaving it to his wife to figure out what he was writing. Something to think about next time I think I can’t write because I don’t have a strong enough wireless connection.

Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House is in Danville, 30 miles east of SF, accessible only via National Park Service vans. Reservations must be made in advance at 925-838-0249. Tours are Wed-Sun, 10AM and 12:30PM. Info at eugeneoneill.org.

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