SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

November 7, 2013

'You've got to live now'

Anne Kraft delivers a message in 'Year of Magical Thinking'

Anne Kraft wasn’t wild about Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking” when she first read the book, and she found the stage version difficult to perform.

“It was a challenge,” Kraft said. “But I fell in love with it. Through working on it, I learned to love it.”

She came to love it so much that her current performance at Salem Theatre Company will be Kraft’s fifth appearance in the play.

What made the story difficult to present on stage was not so much the tragic nature of its material, she said, as “the way it’s written. It’s an emotional journey. It’s memory, it’s now, it bounces all around. It’s different in that sense.”

The book, which Didion adapted into a one-woman play that appeared on Broadway in 2007, recorded a double blow in the famous writer’s life. Her husband, novelist and screenwriter John Gregory Dunne, died of a heart attack in December 2003 at age 71. A few months later, their adopted daughter and only child, Quintana Roo Dunne, suffered a brain hemorrhage. She died not long after the book was published, at age 39.

As Didion examines her experiences of loss and grief, her focus shifts to accommodate a range of feelings, memories and associations. These include moments of “magical thinking,” or childish beliefs about reality.

For example, Didion refused to give away her dead husband’s shoes because he would need them if he ever came back to life — and donating them would acknowledge that he wasn’t going to do that.

Other, seemingly random ideas and associations can intrude in her narrative, but they all belong to the process of coming to terms with overwhelming events.

“It’s a constant jumping act,” Kraft said. “As an actor, you’ve got to find the connections. I didn’t have them the first time I did it. I still find new meanings to things.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle
  • North Shore religion calendar Saturday, April 19 Easter Bunny Breakfast & Egg Hunt, 10 a.m. to noon, Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, 323 Locust St., Danvers. The youth groups of Northshore and Beverly Unitarian Universalist churches will hold an Easter breakfast and egg

    April 19, 2014

  • North Shore religion news in brief The Rev. Marya DeCarlen has been named the new, full-time priest in charge at All Saints Episcopal Church of the North Shore in Danvers. DeCarlen's ministry with the parish begins Sunday, April 27. Her appointment comes after the church's yearlong in

    April 19, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Teenage girl’s boyish figure is often deceiving to others Dear Abby: I'm a 14-year-old girl with a problem. Because of my buzzed short hair, slim hips and flat chest, I frequently get mistaken for a boy. It really bothers me because, despite my haircut and body shape, I have a feminine face and I wear women

    April 19, 2014

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20

    Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vet Connection: Is it OK to give a dog a bone? We have all seen the cartoons and commercials depicting dogs burying bones and stashing them away for later. Unfortunately, most pet owners are completely unaware of the significant risks and problems that are associated with feeding dogs these treat

    April 18, 2014

  • Ask Dog Lady: Why is my dog fascinated with burying things? Dear Dog Lady, My dog came across a dead cat at the park and proceeded to bury the cat with surrounding leaves by using her nose and pushing the leaves over the dead cat. Two days later, we went back to the park, and she found the dead cat again and

    April 18, 2014

  • ed Ipswich author to share drawing techniques Most of Ed Emberley's 80 children's books, 20 of which are still in print, have one goal in mind. "Showing the kids you can draw; everybody can draw something," he said. "They get encouragement from working with the simplest thing." Emberley will giv

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • holtenhouse Quick pick 'Voices From the Back Stairs' Jennifer Pustz of Historic New England presents "Voices From the Back Stairs" tomorrow at 2, at the Judge Samuel Holten House, 171 Holten St., Danvers. In her presentation, Pustz explores domestic service in 19th- and 20

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Assistant’s gruff attitude needs to be smoothed out Dear Abby: How do I deal with an assistant who keeps calling me a "brown-noser"? She did it again yesterday at a staff meeting in front of my boss and another assistant. It was the third time she has said it. She is gruff and rude, and several people

    April 18, 2014

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, April 18

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker