Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
On Daniel Zimmerman's comfortably lived-in-looking set with bookshelves and a writing desk, Turner commands the audience's attention from her first entrance and never lets up during the 100-minute performance. She makes sure the audience knows that the story she's about to share is also their story: "It will happen to you. I'm telling you what you need to know."
As directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, Turner as Didion makes a pot of tea, fusses with sofa cushions and paces through the apartment as she recounts not only the factsher husband's sudden collapse, the ambulance, the mess the EMTs left behindbut also her ways of coping. On the outside, she could keep going and accept that John was dead; underneath the surface she could allow herself to believe that he might return to her. She never wallows or breaks down; she's a journalist and a fiction writer, so she uses words to share her experiences and express her feelings.
Part of Didion's gift, beautifully expressed by Turner, is how easily, even casually, she guides the viewer (and the reader) through experiences from different times and places. She lays out the settings of her life, the California homes and New York apartments, the visits to Europe and time spent on movie sets, the memories of her husband and daughter at different ages, and she never loses focus and works her way through to a resolution.