Vanessa Redgrave Honors Friend Joan Didion November 17
with Reading from Author’s Memoir
By: Ellis Nassour
The celebrated Olivier,Tony, and Drama Desk-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave will read from from Blue Nights, an evocative memoir by acclaimed author and her close friend, Joan Didion. The one-night-only performance is November 17 @ 8 P.M. at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Avenue). The program will feature music from 2012 National Endowment for the Arts jazz master Jimmy Owens on trumpet and flugelhorn. The reading will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Cathedral Community Cares.
Ms. Redgrave draws a connection between Blue Nights and Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, which Redgrave performed on Broadway and in London’s West End. "Magical thinking is when we believe that the past can be reversed, somehow," she states. "Blue nights are when everything has a future. For many of us, that means our children. When the blue nights end, we each confront the ludicrous enigma ‘Why can’t I be who I was? Why can’t I wear the black tights and hooped earrings that made me feel I knew who I was?’"
"Joan Didion wrote, ‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live,’" Ms. Redgrave says. "That’s why I’m reading from Blue Nights." She assures those who attend will find "a curious solace – and laughter – in Joan’s strange encounters with those who try to assist us with coping."
Owens says, " I’m honored to be able to share my music, my emotions, as part of this evening. The life that Joan Didion went through was the height of the saddest of the blues. All the life elements worked out because she was strong in her thoughts and emotions and knew she had to continue in her life. Music is always a part of our life’s emotions and can help bridge many personal situations."
Blue Nights is an account of Ms. Didion’s struggle, as a mother and a writer, tapping all of her emotional and physical resources on the death of her daughter two years after her husband, critic, novelist, and screenwriter John Gregory Dunne, passed away.
Tickets range from $40-$175. Purchase at stjohndivine.org or by calling (212) 316-7449.