The Year of Magical Thinking
From: Friday, 25th April 2008
To: Saturday, 25 October 2008
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Adapted for the stage by Joan Didion from her best-selling memoir of the same name, chronicles the aftermath of her husband's sudden death. 'Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We know that someone close to us could die. We might expect to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect to be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes.'
1 May 2008
“You sit down to dinner and life as you know it changes.” So says Joan Didion, played with a rapt and enraptured beauty by Vanessa Redgrave, in The Year of Magical Thinking, Didion’s elegant memoir described by her director, David Hare, as an indispensable handbook to bereavement.
As in New York last year, Redgrave’s performance is one of immoveable emotional power, devoid of sentimentality or cuteness, with not a shred of self-pity in the tale of a woman coping with the death of her husband and creative partner, the writer John Gregory Dunne, followed eighteen months later by the death of their daughter, Quintana, from acute pancreatitis and sceptic shock. Redgrave shines like a light-house, her beam steady and irradiated, her voice a steady rumble of wryly inflected reminiscence.
The book was published before Quintana’s death, although the history of her medical mishaps and hospitalisation is very much part of it. The play m...
Latest User Review
sc - 22 October 2008:
If an actress has ever transcended her material, Vanessa Redgrave does it here. Throughout the one hour forty minutes of the play, my constant thought was "She deserves much better than this." Redgrave is a uniquely gifted actor whose performance makes one gasp at her memory, her stamina, her enduring beauty, her presence and her faultless delivery (in a perfectly sustained American accent), but I longed for the words she was speaking to actually move me far more than they did. Joan Didion was an unknown name to me, but I can understand why the original book was such a hit in the States: it has that no-holds-barred, let-it-all-out kind of confessional openness which seems to be a characteristic of the American psyche, but which merely causes slight embarrassment here. But, as an acting tour de force from a great lady, it is unbeatable....