Thursday, April 12, 2007

The year of wishful thinking

Wishful thinking—the prosaic way to describe Joan Didion's magical thinking, and one I feel apply better to the play based on Didion's book of the same title. And that show is nothing if not prosaic. Actually, it's barely a show at all, which is quite something to say considering that it consists of a titan of the theater, Vanessa Redgrave, alone on stage for 100 minutes.

But Didion—who adapted her memoir—should have realized the endeavor is nothing but a live book on tape. David Hare's direction didn't help either; a lot of dramatic events are recounted at the Booth stage, but none happen on stage: There's nothing theatrical about what happens in The Year of Magical Thinking. Why not have Redgrave record the text so you can play it back at home? The difference in experience would be minimal, and at least you'd avoid the Booth's horrendous seats, which are even worse than flying coach on Cattlecar Air. The theater's owners have even done something egregiously abusive: In order to add a few seats to the orchestra, no aisle breaks up the first four rows or so; if you sit in the middle, it's a very long way to go over other people's legs if you want to exit.

1 comment:

judy said...

Though I liked the book, I couldn't imagine it would make a very good play.