magical_squareRounding out Theater at Monmouth’s 2013 summer fare is Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, opening Friday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. In this adaptation of her best-selling memoir of the same name, Didion presents a life-affirming approach to the grief experienced after the death of a loved one. Told with eloquent language, humor, and the searing candor Didion is known for, this one-woman tour de force paints an insightful portrait of a lifetime of love and a moment of loss.

I was at the table making a salad,” Didion recalled. “John was talking about either World War I or the Scotch he was drinking when he suddenly slumped over.” She thought he was making a joke about being dead-tired after their difficult day, but he was having a fatal heart attack. Didion’s script is poetic in its bluntness, its seeming detachment, and its unavoidable truth as she reflects on the year following the deaths of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, and their daughter, Quintana Dunne Michael. Filled with often surprising insights and sharp, often self-deprecating, humor, it is the story of Didion’s search for clues, for relief, and above all for the chance to accept the changing flow of life.

In the wrong hands this play could easily slip into a TV news program—that of watching an eyewitness report of a terrible accident,” says Dawn McAndrews, TAM’s producing artistic director and director on Magical. “Didion’s words, in the capable hands of Janis Stevens, become not a simple accounting but a symphony, a communion of actor and audience sharing an unimaginable revelation.”

Having performed the role to rave reviews at Montpelier’s Lost Nation Theater and Sacramento’s California Stage, TAM favorite Janis Stevens returns for her twelfth season to portray Joan Didion in this emotional journey to acceptance. Previous TAM roles include Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, Merteuil in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and Amanda in Private Lives. An acclaimed actor on both the east and west coast, Stevens received an Elly Award for Best Dramatic Actress as the title character in California Stage’s Becoming Julia Morgan, and a 2006 Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance in an Off-off Broadway production of Vivien.

Performance Calendar: PREVIEW 7/25 at 7:30 p.m.; OPENING 7/26 at 7:30 p.m.; additional performance dates 7/26, 7/27, and 7/31 at 7:30 p.m.; 8/4 and 8/17 at 1:00 p.m.; 8/11 at 7:00 p.m. with a post-show talkback. Tickets are $30 on Opening Nights, $28 for Regular Tickets, $25 for Seniors, and $20 for students. For calendar, reservations, and rush ticket availability, please contact the TAM Box Office at 207.933.9999 or visit

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