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Dec
19

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“the year of magical thinking” at north coast rep

Year of Magical Thinking

If you’re anywhere near San Diego and are free tonight, order tickets for The Year of Magical Thinking at North Coast Rep right now.

The special two-night presentation is a must-see and tonight is your last chance to see it here.

Linda Purl is a powerhouse in this one-woman show based on Joan Didion’s bestselling book about losing her husband, author John Gregory Dunne, and their daughter, Quintana.

From the minute Purl, as Didion, walks onto the sparse set — just a chair and end table — looks into the audience and says, “This happened on December 30, 2003,” you know this isn’t going to be a sentimental reminiscence. It’s going to be raw and fact-based and as disciplined and precise as Didion’s signature prose. With a few tears escaping down her cheeks — and possibly yours.

“Life changes fast,” says Didion as she recounts the events that forever changed her life. Not one to feel self-pity, she matter-of-factly warns us, “It will happen to you.”

I never read The Year of Magical Thinking but it seems like it would be a real support system for anyone grieving. Didion’s “magical thinking” was all about believing that somehow, if she kept his shoes or refused to visit places they’d shared good memories in the past, her husband would come back. She could keep her daughter safe.

Purl is truly a gifted actress whose nuanced performance gives the show real heft.

She came out to talk to the audience and answer questions afterwards, and she was warm and thoughtful and appreciative. She laughed when someone told her they’d been a fan since Happy Days (she was Fonzie’s fiance!) and the audience laughed when she admitted she heard a man snoring during her performance.

She told us about being offered the part when her own mother had been diagnosed with cancer, and being ready to turn it down to just care for her. But when her friend, Bonnie Franklin, who was going to take the role, died, she felt compelled to take on the role. Her mom even helped her go over lines.

Seeing Purl in this tour de force is a gift. She is, yes, magical.

Note: Sorry about the awful photo, above, but I couldn’t get a good one and I wanted to make sure this post went up as soon as possible so you would know to go see this show tonight!

Comments

  1. Would love to see this. Wish it was near me. I read the book which was so good, especially after I lost my husband, it really touched my heart.

  2. I haven’t read the book as well but yes, it sounds a great book. I love the review and it excites me to read the book.

  3. This looks like a fun event. I like new books to read so this sounds like something I might want to pick up.

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