“Women, where are we going?” is only one of many questions raised by this fall’s production of “The Heidi Chronicles,” which will be presented at the Bartlett Theatre on Oct. 25-27.
The cast, which is comprised of Ava Pavao ’14, Wesley Cady ’15, Jeffrey Matos ’16, Eric Hambury ’13, Josh Freedline ’13, Megan Soule ’15, Kate DePietro ’15, Maggie McNair ’14 and Adriana Ureña ’16, explores this query throughout the “comic drama.”
With a focus on the women’s movement, “The Heidi Chronicles” highlights the life of protagonist Heidi Holland – from her days as a high school student in the 1960s, to her emergence as a successful art historian in 1989. In doing so, the play provides one woman’s view of a period in American history during which the youthful idealism of the 1960s is confronted by the emerging conservatism of the 1980s.
Professor of Education and the show’s director Patrick Collins says that though at times light hearted, “The Heidi Chronicles” is ultimately a disquieting play which looks at the past in order to force us to think about the progress we have – or have not – made in the past 25 years, and to think more carefully about the personal choices we each make in our own lives today.
The exploration of women’s issues is part of a larger discussion occurring at the Colleges. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the HWS Women’s Studies Program, as well as the national anniversary of Title IX. Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Michelle Baron explains that the play deals with many of the same issues that the field of women’s studies raises. In fact, following the Friday performance, Baron will facilitate a roundtable discussion to help community members work through some of the issues explored in the play.
“This play is historically rooted,” explains Collins. “I hope it raises many questions not only about where we have been, but also about where we have come in the past 25 years, and where we still need to go – both socially and individually, especially in regard to the experiences of women in American culture.”
For Baron, while this was a play about one woman’s frustrations with changing social issues, it is a struggle with which many women can relate. “Heidi raises important questions about the expectations placed on women by society as well as the expectations women place on themselves,” says Baron. “And is a great catalyst for reflection on women’s issues then, now, and in the future.”
Another exciting element is that the play will be performed in the round in Bartlett Theatre, something that has not been done since the early 1990s. “I think that this will create an intimate environment for this production,” explains Collins. “It will highlight the fact that everyone is approaching these issues from different perspectives by literally having people view the story unfold from different perspectives.”
“The Heidi Chronicles,” written by Wendy Wasserstein, will be performed in Bartlett Theatre at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25 – Saturday, Oct. 27. General admission is $5, but is free for HWS students. Tickets are available in advance at the College Store or at the door on the night of the show; however, seating is limited. Please be advised that the play contains adult language.