“Do you know how several words there are in 80 minutes?” asks actress Kathleen Turner. “My god!”
Turner is referring to The Year of Magical Pondering, a play based on Joan Didion’s 2005 memoir. The book was written whilst Didion’s daughter was in a deep coma, and right after her husband of 40 years suffered a fatal heart attack. In her role as Didion, Turner is the only one particular on stage. “It really is quite lonely,” she says.
Rehearsing before opening evening at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage, Turner strides across the bare rehearsal hall — confident, assured, pushing back her long, thick hair from time to time. (It is a sexy gesture — and a reminder of her breakthrough function in the torrid 1981 film Physique Heat.)
And that voice! It’s been described as “Cabernet-soaked” which is quite a departure from Didion’s, which is much smaller sized, softer and slightly nasal. (You can hear an extended 2005 interview with Didion in the hyperlink audio link below.)
At age 81, Didion is bobby-pin thin. “She’s a tiny small factor, proper?” says Turner. “And I am something but tiny, small or frail.”
But if audiences come searching for Didion, they will not uncover her in this production.
“If men and women want just to have Joan Didion then they are going to have to forgive me,” Turner says. “Simply because that is not what I am undertaking.”
This isn’t about imitating Didion. This is about portraying a lady who is dealing with grief, and grasping for life. Facing unimaginable loss, she’s robust, vulnerable and fierce as she struggles to banish self-pity.
“I went type of crazy. I imply, I think everybody does,” Didion says.
Didion’s “magical thinking” had to do with the concept that her husband would somehow return. She gives away his shirts, pants and socks, but somehow, when it comes to throwing away his footwear, she can’t bring herself to do it.
“Following a moment’s believed, she realizes the purpose she can’t do it is since he’ll want them when he comes back,” Turner says.
At 62, Turner has lived by means of losses that support her connect to this play.
“I truly began on this exploration final year when my mother died,” she says. “We were really close, and it was a excellent death, as it goes, you know. But I miss her very much and it does leave this, this absence that it really is difficult to grasp.”
Magical pondering is “if” pondering, she says. “There is all this great pretense, but it’s not undesirable pretense. It really is wishful, hopeful — but nevertheless entirely misleading.”
What do you do to get via the worst items that happen to you? Inside two years, Didion lost her husband and their daughter. The play pays specific interest to the daughter. It tends to make you ask: How can we shield the ones we really like?
Turner has met the author at a variety of events over the years but she hasn’t discussed the drama with Didion or re-study the book on which it really is based.
“I never want to,” Turner says. “You know, a great script, every thing I need is in it — is in the script. I do not want to know as well a lot — I do not want to know too significantly outdoors the script.”
In Didion’s story, Turner has located what she wants.