One Woman Show
The Year of Magical Thinking
by Joan Didion
Directed by Judie Hanel
September 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 2010
Actress Sharon Laughlin
Written by Joan Didion, starring Sharon Laughlin, and directed by Judie Hanel.
Presented in partnership with Hospice of The Gorge.
The Year of Magical Thinking, is based on the National Book Award winning memoir of the same name. The book chronicles what Didion refers to as “a year of going crazy” after her husband, John Gregory Dunne, died of cardiac arrest at the dining room table while their only daughter, Quintana, lay intubated and comatose in a nearby hospital bed.
More than simply an adaptation, the stage play is a re-envisioning. Rather than pull excerpts from the book, Didion actually wrote entirely new material for the play. Didion said that transforming the story for the stage had therapeutic benefits for her, in that it helped her to better process these life events.
“I had no sense about much of the denial I had during the year the book represented,” she said. “Going through the rehearsal process it became clear. Everything had to be clear, had to remain clear. It was like endless psychoanalysis with David Hare (the Director) and Vanessa (Redgrave). It was a very interesting perspective.”
Experiencing Didion’s tragedies through her words strikes a deep emotional chord in the reader (or viewer) —but as much as this story is about loss, it is also about Didion’s life, motherhood and marriage.
Along the same lines of magical thinking that caused her to keep her husband’s shoes after he’d died – in case he might need them again – Didion wrote in the final page of her memoir, “I realize as I write this that I do not want to finish this account…I know why we try to keep the dead alive:
We try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us.”
September 9, 10, 11, 16 & 17 at 7:30pm
$12 Seniors and Students
Tickets for this show are now available online (click link above), and also available at Waucoma Books in Hood River, and The Brighter Side in White Salmon. Tickets will also be available at the door prior to the show.
Also consider purchasing a season ticket. Click for info: Season Theatre Tickets
Columbia Center for the Arts, Hood River
About Joan Didion
Joan Didion (Playwright) was born in California and is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. Winner of the 2005 National Book Award, The Year of Magical Thinking is one of 13 books by Joan Didion. Her other books include Play It As It Lays, Democracy, Miami, Book of Common Prayer, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Salvador,The Last Thing He Wanted and Political Fictions.
With her husband, John Gregory Dunne, she wrote the screenplays for such pictures as The Panic in Needle Park with Al Pacino, True Confessions with Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall, A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand, and Up Close & Personal with Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford.
Didion is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which awarded her its 2005 Gold Medal in nonfiction. She also received the 1996 Edward MacDowell Medal, the 1999 Columbia Journalism Award and the 2002 George Polk Book Award. She contributes to various periodicals, most frequently The New York Review of Books.
Didion has spent her adult life in New York and Los Angeles.
About Sharon Laughlin
Sharon Laughlin was born in Oregon, a native of Sherman County. After graduating from the University of Washington with a BA in Drama, she went directly to New York City, where she continued her acting studies with Niels Miller.
After several Off-Broadway shows, she auditioned for the lead in Dore Schary's play "One by One" and played that role on Broadway. She worked for Joseph Papp at the Public Theatre and at Shakespeare in the Park. Sharon worked in Regional Theatres in Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Stratford and Oregon Shakespeare Festival's first production in Portland, "Heartbreak House", among others.
Favorite roles include Ariadne in "Heartbreak House", Hedda in "Hedda Gabler", Kate in Pinter's "Old Times", Amanda in "Private Lives", Fillapovna in "Subject to Fits", and long ago, the Pupil in Ionesco's "The Lesson".