Reviewed by Paula Citron
The Year of Magical Thinking
Written by Joan Didion
Directed by Michael Shamata
Performed by Seana McKenna
Nov.2 to Dec. 12, 2010
Tarragon Theatre’s production of The Year of Magical Thinking is a runaway hit, and for good reason. The powerful personal story of lionized writer Joan Didion is portrayed by the great Seana McKenna, one of Canada’s most beloved actors.
The subject is the author’s tempus horribilis, the year and a half between the deaths of her husband in Dec. 2003 and her only daughter in Aug., 2005. “Magical Thinking” refers to the grief process where a person in denial believes that he/she can control events which are really out of their hands.
McKenna captivates as a sophisticated New Yorker who is locked in a bubble of untruths. The play is a statement of facts, including long medical terms, but McKenna makes the lines sound like poetry. No one does self-deprecating irony better than McKenna, and director Michael Shamata has played up this skill.
Didion’s journey to spiritual health is deeply poignant.
The Year of Magical Thinking continues at Tarragon Theatre until Dec. 12.