A coming-of-age story that charts the changing role of women in society and the evolution of the ‘baby boomers’ who rebelled in the 1960s, became the ‘me-generation’ of the 1970s and embraced ‘greed is good’ in the 1980s, New Theatre presents Wendy Wasserstein’s award-winning play The Heidi Chronicles.
Across three decades and four cities, Heidi and her friends – male and female, gay and straight – search for political, professional and personal fulfilment as youthful idealism sours, careers surge, relationships break down and biological clocks start ticking.
Inspired by Kennedy, disillusioned by Nixon and corrupted by Reagan, in the end they come to realize that the fight for what you believe can only take you so far and that liberation lies in being true to yourself. Wendy Wasserstein’s funny, touching, insightful elegy for her own lost generation and their often fraught relationship with feminism broke new ground in the presentation of women’s stories on stage.
Wendy Wasserstein studied playwriting at Yale, the only woman in her small “kind of bizarro macho class” to quote fellow student Christopher Durang. “There were an awful lot of would-be Sam Shepards and Wendy felt a little left out.”
Her play-going experience was not much better: “I remember going to them and thinking ‘I really like this, but where are the girls?’” This, together with her personal experiences, prompted her to write The Heidi Chronicles in 1988.
The play featured a heroine for her times, modelled largely on Wasserstein herself, a woman who succeeds professionally but flounders in her personal life, who “wants it all – motherhood, sisterhood, love and boardroom respect”.
With The Heidi Chronicles, Wasserstein became the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Play. The play garnered numerous other prestigious gongs, including the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (which recognises women who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre), the Drama Desk Award, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
“To have a play on Broadway about the change that a woman goes through in her life … this is a revolution in itself.” – Gloria Steinem
Director: Alice Livingstone Featuring: Sarah Aubrey, Matt Charleston, Lauren Dillon, Caroline Levien, Olivia O’Flynn, Amelia Robertson-Cuninghame, Darren Sabadina, Benjamin Winckle Set Designers: Alice Livingstone, David Marshall-Martin Lighting Designer: Louise Mason Costume Designer: Famke Visser Sound Designer: Michael Huxley Audio/Visual Designer: Tim Hope Assistant Director/Voice Coach: Emma Louise Choreographer: Trent Kidd Production Manager/Stage Manager: Jo Jewitt Stage Manager: Joan Cameron-Smith Production Assistant: Keziah Knight
The Heidi Chronicles
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season continues to 9 July 2016
Information and Bookings: www.newtheatre.org.au
Image: The Heidi Chronicles – photo by Richard Hedger