Green Room Award winner Jillian Murray reunites with her L’amante anglaise Director, Laurence Strangio, to present Joan Didion’s extraordinary monologue, The Year of Magical Thinking, at fortyfivedownstairs this November.
Adapted by Didion from her award-winning memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking unpacks a surreal and overwhelming time in her life, as she faces the loss of her husband John, and a year later, her daughter Quintana.
“Joan writes of these experiences in a way most of us cannot,” says Murray. “The generosity with which her writing is imbued comes from the honesty of her revelations, which she often shares with dry and unexpected humour.”
For Strangio, capturing Didion’s “scrupulous honesty in dissecting her experience” is the essential element for a successful production. “In staging the piece, my intention has always been to be as honest as the text,” he says.
Having given several acclaimed performances in recent years, Murray relishes the opportunity to immerse herself in one of the most challenging roles of her career. When asked how she prepares for such a massive undertaking, her answer was simple…
“Start early,” she says. “It has required a huge amount of focus and commitment for me to reach a point where I can play with the text. How enlightening it is not only to learn a beautifully constructed text, but to spend time in Didion’s world.”
For fortyfivedownstairs’ Artistic Director Mary Lou Jelbart, the combination of Murray, Strangio and Didion was a no brainer. “Didion’s writing has a quality of simple perfection, seemingly produced without effort,” says Jelbart. “It perfectly matches the consummate performances I have seen from Jillian Murray.”
“So when director Laurence Strangio proposed matching the beautiful The Year of Magical Thinking with Jillian, there was no hesitation. I have no doubt this will be unforgettable.”
“You see me on this stage, you sit next to me on a plane, you run into me at dinner, you know what happened to me. You don’t want to think it could happen to you. That’s why I’m here.” – The Year of Magical Thinking
Director: Laurence Strangio Featuring: Jillian Murray Lighting Design: Andy Turner Sound Design: Darius Kedros Sound Design Intern: Emmanuel Cundasamy
The Year of Magical Thinking
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: 2 – 17 November 2019 (previews: 31 October – 1 November)
Information and Bookings: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com.au
Image: Jillian Murray – photo by Jodie Hutchinson