Robyn Nevin in a play directed by Cate Blanchett and written by the indomitable Joan Didion -“ it’s almost too much brilliance to be contained on one stage. What lucky things Sydneysiders are!

The Year of Magical Thinking is one of the most eagerly anticipated productions to be staged by the Sydney Theatre Company this year.

The play, based on the novel of the same title, tells of Didion’s tragic experience of losing her husband of 40 years, to be followed in quick succession by the death of her only child Quintana and her ongoing year of magical thinking as she comes to terms with grief.

It is an emotionally charged and brave choice for Blanchett’s first foray into directing for the STC. If there was ever a pair who could do justice to the subtlety and brilliant insight of Didion’s writing, it’s Blanchett and Nevin, the former director of the STC.

I knew of Joan through Slouching Towards Bethlehem, but I’d never really read much of hers, Nevin, who is taking on the daunting task of performing as Didion in the one woman show, told SSO.

I was actually in an airport and saw The Year of Magical Thinking and thought to pick it up mainly because I knew it was a name I could trust. It wasn’t till later that I went on quite a journey to fight for the rights to perform the piece.

Nevin in fact travelled to the States to meet Didion in order to get the rights.

I enjoyed meeting her enormously. She is a very private person. She’s a woman of very few words but she’s very magnetic, Nevin said.

It’s a deeply personal story told by a woman who has a great level of personal awareness. There are parts of it which are deeply emotional and there are other parts where Didion achieves a sense of distance and can actually be very funny. She actually has a great sense of humour about what she terms as her -˜magical thinking’.

The Year of Magical Thinking plays at the Sydney Theatre Company until 4 May. Tickets $72. Bookings: 9250 1777, or through Ticketek, 132 849.

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