Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA opens award-winning play, 'The Heidi Chronicles' Tuesday

April 22, 2009 - Sylvia Bierschenk

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS -The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre's production of Wendy Wasserstein's "The Heidi Chronicles" that opens April 28, traces the lives of baby boomer Heidi Holland and her friends from 1965, when Heidi is 16, to 1989, when she is 40.

While the cast admits it is a challenge to portray their characters through three decades, they think the time setting makes the play appealing to a wide age range.

We have to reflect what our characters go through and who they are in that time span, explained Allison Ostrander and Sarah Zabinski, who portray Heidi and Susan, respectively.

But the decades provide a "fantastic look into a time in our history that our parents and grandparents lived in," Zabinski continued. "It's also a very misunderstood time, and (the play) discusses issues that are still present today."

For those who were not alive during those decades, the play serves as a good historical lesson, explained Alan Nielsen, SFA professor of theatre and the play's director. "Wasserstein actually places her characters in the larger world by setting her scenes during historic moments in our nation's turbulent history: 1965, arguably among the last few years of American innocence; 1968, at the beginning of the doomed Eugene McCarthy campaign and the riots and assassinations yet to come; 1970, when everyone's consciousness was being raised by 'I'm Okay, You're Okay; four years later when Watergate has brought down Richard Nixon; 1980, at the death of John Lennon; and so on."

"I feel that I've gained a better understanding of the social development that occurred during that window of time," said Garrett Cross, Texarkana junior who plays Peter.

Cross said another plus for the play is Wasserstein's talent as a writer. "The dialogue is engaging and laden with humor. It is, naturally, a funny piece."

"The Heidi Chronicles," which won the 1989 Tony Award for Best Play, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, through Saturday, May 2, in W.M. Turner Auditorium. It is recommended for mature audiences only.

The play is a joint production of the SFA College of Fine Arts and School of Theatre and is sponsored in part by Tipton Ford-Lincoln-Mercury.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for seniors and students. For tickets or more information, please visit www.sfasu.edu/finearts or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.