The Year of Magical Thinking in IRT’s Going Solo Festival

The Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Going Solo Festival continues this week with the opening of The Year of Magical Thinking, Thursday, February 18, 2010. The one actor play based on Joan Didion’s mournful memoir will rotate performances on the IRT’s upper stage through March 7, 2010. It shares the space with Charlayne Woodard’s Pretty Fire, which opened last weekend, and David Hoppe’s (of NUVO) After Paul McCartney, which opens next weekend. Tickets for this Indianapolis theatre event are $44.00 for adults, $34.00 for seniors and $19.00 for Indianapolis kids with a student ID (prices vary based on show date and time).

Joan Didion’s memoir hit bookstores in 2005, and swept the literary world by storm. It won the National Book Award, was a finalist of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Biography/ Autobiography. The story recounts the Didion’s experience of grief after her husband, John Gregory Dunne, died of a fatal heart attack, while their daughter, Quintana Roo Dunne Michael lay comatose in a nearby hospital.

A journalist by trade and training, Didion writes in a reportorial style. Didion worked at pretty much every important publication in the United States including Vogue, Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post, The New York Times and The New York Review of Books. Her personal and journalistic essays have been published across the country for decades and gathered into a collection called The White Album.

In The Year of Magical Thinking, Didion finds herself re-living and re-analyzing everything leading up to and following her husband’s tragic death, all while she cares for her ill daughter. Every re-visitation to the event brings Joan to a different emotional and physical experience, as she tracks her growth through the process of mourning. In addition, she includes medical and psychological┬á research on grief and illness.

Magical thinking refers to many of Didion’s thought processes while mourning. The idea goes that if a person hopes for something enough, putting the right amount of energy and action into the universe, an unavoidable tragedy can be averted. For instance, Didion found it impossible to give away her husband’s shoes, as he would need them when he returned. In the memoir, she also focuses on the insanity and confusion experienced by many experiencing grief.

Though her daughter passed away before the memoir was published, Didion did not change her original manuscript. When she was invited to adapt the novel to a play for Broadway, she did expand on her daughter’s death. The original production on Broadway starred the legendary Vanessa Redgrave as the sole cast member. Redgrave traveled with the show to London’s National Theatre. Performances in both New York and London were hailed by critics as brilliant.

Now see this powerful story of grief and growth on stage at the IRT through March 7, 2010. Directed by Priscilla Lindsay (of Love Letters) and starring Fontaine Syer as Joan, this deeply emotional addition to the Going Solo Festival is sure to touch a cord with Indianapolis people.

For additional information about The Year of Magical Thinking, visit the IRT’s official website.

Enjoy the IRT’s Going Solo Festival with style. Make a day of it in Indianapolis downtown. Take in a matinee then dine at these delicious Indianapolis restaurants. Then head to an evening performance at this Indianapolis performing arts venue. After that compare and contrast your experiences at one woman shows at any of these Indianapolis bars.

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The Year of Magical Thinking
February 18 through March 7, 2010

Indiana Repertory Theatre
140 W Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46204

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