The Year of Magical Thinking | UNC Campus: Kenan Theatre | Stage | Indy Week
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The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking 

When: April 27-May 1 2011
Price: $25-35

On Dec. 30, 2003, Joan Didion and her husband, John Gregory Dunne, returned from a hospital where they had seen their grown daughter placed in a medical coma after falling ill to a runaway infection. Then, the unthinkable occurred: Dunne himself died, right in front of his wife. These events and their aftermath form the core of Didion's memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, which was published to rave reviews in 2005. It was a bitter late triumph for Didion in her celebrated career as journalist, novelist, essayist and screenwriter. She turned the work into a theater piece in 2007, with the great Vanessa Redgrave playing Didion in the solo show. Ben Brantley's review in The New York Times was mixed—as a huge fan of the book, he reported that Didion's voice seemed strangely absent. Was it the script? Was it Redgrave's interpretation? At any rate, Triangle theater fans—and perhaps anyone grappling with grief—will be interested in PlayMakers Repertory's one-week-only production. The show will be presented in Kenan Theatre today through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. (with an additional Sunday performance at 2 p.m.). Actress and playwright Ellen McLaughlin, who authored a song cycle called Penelope that was previewed recently at Kings Barcade and will receive a world premiere next season at PlayMakers, will play Didion. —David Fellerath

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