Amidst a backdrop of the social change of the 1960s, Heidi Chronicles captures the spirit of the baby boom generation, questioning the role of the women in society during that time.
As Temple Theater’s last theater production this semester, Heidi Chronicles ends the season on a comically thought-provoking note with great dialogue, sets and topics.
“The 60s era brings a host of issues,” said Director Caitlin Moon. “Gays, AIDS, civil rights and this is the story of character’s failures and mistakes during this time, but we watch them get up and try again.”
We meet the first three main characters of the play as it opens with a scene in 1965 at a high school dance.
Heidi is 16 years old, and while she’s there just to have a good time, the audience realizes that her best friend Susan is on the prowl to catch a guy.
As Susan goes off to meet a man, Heidi is introduced to Peter. He asks her to marry him, but Heidi responds that she cherishes her independence too much for marriage. They decide to be friends instead.
A few years later we meet Heidi at another dance where this time, Scoop approaches Heidi, and “Scoop will become the love of her life,” Moon said.
The play captures how these four relationships develop over the next 20 years.
As an adult, Heidi becomes a highly successful art historian and lecturer at Columbia University, ultimately choosing not to marry either of the two men.
“While we root for her and want Heidi to be happy we discover why she doesn’t marry either of them,” Moon said.
To accurately show the passage of time, the theater department collaborated with the film department.
“There’s a media component to the set,” Moon said. “There are large screens that show videos and footage of major events that take place as Heidi grows up.”
The play takes place through 11 different years and in 11 different places, and its documentary style of seeing time pass helps the audience to understand transitions from one scene to the next.
“You learn that you have to make choices, but sometimes you make bad choices and you don’t always get what you want,” Moon said. “This is a truism of adult life, and it’s humbling to watch.” While Heidi Chronicles deals with deep issues, it’s presented in a comedic way.
“It’s like Sex and the City, ” Moon said. “It’s funny, but it also makes you cry.
“You know that she should be with this one guy, but she’s not,” Moon said.
The play has a remarkable amount of resonance today.
“Heidi could be 20 years old in 1975, but she could also be 20 today,” Moon said.
Heidi Chronicles is running at Temple’s Randall Theater (entrance is inside Annenberg Hall) from Nov. 17-19, 21-22, and Nov. 29 – Dec. 3 at 8 p.m., with matinees on Nov. 19 and Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 available at the Liacouras Center Box Office, www.ticketmaster.com, or by phone at (215) 336-2000.
Tickets are $12 for seniors, children, and faculty. Tickets are free for all students with a GAF card.
Kaitlyn Dreyling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.