Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Heidi Chronicles - 98

I really was delighted by the 'Heidi Chronicles' by Wendy Wasserstein.  The play chooses an interesting device to tell its story.  We see Heidi Holland in a number of scenes from her life, as she grows and learns things.  Along with her are three friends, Susan, Peter and Scoop.  Each of them changes and varies in cynicism and optimism as time goes by.
Heidi goes from a wallflower to a social activist to a feminist to writer about women and art to (finally) a mother of an adopted girl.  Apparently that last bit was controversial among feminists who resented the idea that a woman could need a child to feel complete.  That wasn't my reading but I'm a) not a feminist and b) a man, so I'm sure that they won't care about my opinion on this.
The writing throughout is clear and thoughtful.  These feel like real people in the way we seem them over twenty-some years of time.  Its also humorous and fun.  I'd enjoy seeing it on the stage.  I can only imagine that it would be effective, especially for women of a similar age to Heidi Holland.  The plays suggests that there is a struggle out there for women to figure out exactly how to live their lives.  Feminism and the various women's rights movements of the 60's and 70's didn't really solve that struggle.  It opened doors certainly but the eternal questions of how to live still need to be solved.  (This remains true for men too.)  I'm guessing that those question will still be unsolved a thousand years from now and beyond.
I very much enjoyed this and was glad that I was introduced to it.

Next up is 'The Hostage' by Brendan Behan.  I haven't found it yet to read but I believe there is a full staging of it online to watch.  Part of me feels that this would be cheating, but that's probably silly.  Plays were meant to be watched, not read, right?

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