Thursday, 18 September 2008
The Year of Magical Thinking
My husband and I went to see a play called The Year of Magical Thinking. It was written by a woman called Joan Didion who I'm sure that I should have heard of but I haven't. (Can Americans out there help me?) I really wanted to see the play because it has been quite a hit, and it is a one woman show about grief, and so I really thought that it would be interesting. But I have to say that it wasn't. Not at all. I don't want to be critical of Joan Didion who has clearly lived through terrible tragedies (the death of her husband and her daughter in one year) but her play is really dodgy. I was so disappointed. Every day I read blogs which are infinitely more thoughtful, intelligent and honest than that play. Joan Didion seems to think that she is the only person in the world who has ever had anything bad happen to them. I also had the impression that she's never had a conversation with anyone else about grief. None of this would matter except that, at the end of the play, many people stood up as they clapped. And afterwards everyone else in the audience seemed to think that the play was wonderful. For my husband and I, the whole thing was a real Emperor's New Clothes moment. I left the theatre feeling really frightened because I suddenly felt as though I'm occupying some totally different world to other people. But then I've always felt like that so perhaps I should stop worrying about it. Maybe I should be more respectful to Joan Didion. After all, she's got a right to say what she thinks about grief. But should she be able to proclaim her story from stages all over the world when actually - I've got to say it - her play is just vacuous?