GableStage presents The Year of Magical Thinking, an account of the year following the writer’s death Jeanne Didionthe husband of John Gregory Dunne in 2003. The book was immediately acclaimed as a classic memoir on grief. It won the 2005 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for both the NNational Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography.
On March 29, 2007, Didion’s Broadway adaptation of his book opened with Vanessa Redgrave as the only actor. He has since toured the world with Redgrave reprising his role in London and again in New York. Now, this extraordinary production will be shared with local audiences at the GableStage in the intimate setting it deserves.
Described as “exquisitely controlled and heartbreakingly sad” by The New York Times, Didion recounts in vivid detail her experiences of grief at her husband’s unexpected death and expands the memories by sharing her ordeal with their daughter’s co-occurring illnesses. Quintana and the untimely death that followed.
Didion skillfully makes sense of the emotional and physical aspects of her husband and daughter’s experiences, incorporating medical and psychological research on grief and illness. The title of the play refers to wishful thinking in the anthropological sense – thinking that if a person hopes for something enough or does the right deeds, an inevitable event can be avoided. Throughout the play, Didion explores her own magical thinking as she makes sense of the “weeks and then months that release all fixed ideas”. [she] never had about death, illness…marriage, children and memory…the superficiality of sanity, of life itself.”
It’s a standout moment in theater that tells us how people try to make sense of the insane and how they somehow keep going.
The character of Didion is played by a regional theater veteran with classical training and the voice of audiobooks Sarah Morsey, who said she strives to inhabit her characters so that the author’s intent is crystal clear. “To be a conduit for the words and ideas of Jeanne Didion is nothing short of chills for me. Don’t assume anything about this piece, just come see it. The piece is directed by Bari Newport in her first year as GableStage’s Light Production Artistic Director. “I was looking forward to directing this unique theatrical experience for one woman. Jeanne Didion was an extraordinary writer who captured the essence of her revelations about life and death and shared them with exquisite sensitivity.”
Newport is joined by a creative team that includes production manager Katie Ellison, set designer Frank J. Olivasound designer Matt Coreylighting designer Tony Galaska and costume designer Camilla Haith.
The Year of Magical Thinking is made possible by the support of GableStage Administrator Nedra Kalish, in memory of her beloved husband Ron; trustee Rick Toren and his wife Myrna, in memory of their beloved son David; with additional support from Debbie and Michael Troner, MD and Sheila Wagner, in memory of her beloved husband Richard.
The GableStage Theater is located on the east side of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables at 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134.
Tickets start at $35, with discounts available for artists, veterans and Biltmore Hotel members. Students with IDs and Biltmore employees can see any production for free by stopping by the box office one hour before the performance of their choice begins.
Groups of 10 or more receive $8 off each ticket and receive an additional ticket at no cost. Subscribers receive the best seats at the best prices. Subscriptions are still available. Meet online at gablestage.org/ticketsby phone at (305) 445-1119 or by email at [email protected].