This week we went to the theatre- this was part of goal 44, going to the theatre once every 2 months- but then when I’d booked the tickets, a while ago, no goals or lists were on my mind, I just really really wanted to see this play.
So. The ‘Year of magical thinking’, as the National Theatre website says- was ‘adapted for the stage by Joan Didion from her best-selling memoir of the same name, and chronicles the aftermath of her husband’s sudden death’. I add: it also chronicles the death of Didion’s 39-year old daughter, which occurred about a year or so after her husband’s death. And I ask: how tragically, unfathomably unlucky can one person be?
I had already read Joan Didion’s book and so I was prepared, more or less, about what I would be seeing. This was a very intense 90-minutes solo performance by the wonderful Vanessa Redgrave, which brought me to tears several times. By the end of it I felt the same way I’d felt after I’d finished the book. Drained and left with no answers. I suppose that’s the reality of terrible grief and mourning. There really are no comforting answers, there’s no neat solution or conclusion to hang onto. Loss is a very bare, spare, specific void and leads to no other thing, no lessons, it’s just that: loss. Or at least that’s the way I read the book and that’s the way I felt after seeing the play. And that’s the way I feel about loss.
Here’s a couple of recent reviews, for anyone that’s interested. (If you live in London, you could still perhaps see this play- it’s on until the end of June). So: A less than enthusiastic review by Kate Bassett for the Independent, and a much more positive one by Melissa Rose Bernardo for the Guardian. And finally, Benedict Nightingale’s take from the London Times.