Honoring Wasserstein with New Play

Monday, May 7, 2012 - 10:19

The Year of Wendy Wasserstein will culminate with a new original play by MHC’s Leanna James Blackwell, The Wendy Chronicles, based on the life and writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein ’71. Directed by Don Sanders, artistic director of the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, and featuring the acting talents of students, faculty, and special guests, the play will be performed on May 18 and 25 at 8 pm in Rooke Theatre.

Blackwell, who is a playwright and program development manager in Complementary Program Development, wrote the play with dramaturgy by associate professor Erika Rundle. The show weaves together highlights from Wasserstein's letters, essays, diaries, plays, and speeches, including her 1990 Mount Holyoke commencement speech.

“Writing this play was an extraordinary experience because Wendy was an icon for me when I was coming of age in the ’80s,” says Blackwell. “She represented everything I wanted to do as an artist. Coming back to her now allowed me to develop a new appreciation for her and what she actually accomplished.”

This play completes the College’s year of events honoring Wasserstein, which featured a multimedia exhibition, visits by award-winning playwrights, set designers, and best-selling author Julie Salamon, and performances of Wasserstein’s breakout play Uncommon Women and Others. Project: Theatre also mounted the production Uncommon Womyn, written by Bryna Turner ’12 in response to Wasserstein’s play.

The Wendy Chronicles is produced by the Mount Holyoke College theatre arts department. Performances are free and open to the public. Reservations are strongly recommended; call or email the Rooke Theatre Box Office at 413-538-2406 or rookeboxoffice@gmail.com.

(Photo at right: Wendy Wasserstein when she was a student at Mount Holyoke.)