Don and I went to see "Wishful Drinking", Carrie Fisher's one woman show at Seattle Repertory Theatre recently. Buy your tickets NOW! It's hilarious and runs only through May 3, 2009.
Yes, that Carrie Fisher: daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher; stepdaughter of Elizabeth Taylor and Connie Stevens. And, on her own, she's an accomplished actor in television shows and films as Princess Leia in the "Star Trek" series as well as many others from "Shampoo" to "Blues Brothers" to "Hannah and Her Sisters" to "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" to "When Harry Met Sally". She's the author of "Postcards from the Edge" (made into a movie staring Meryl Streep as a Carrie Fisher-like recovering addict with Shirley MacLaine as a Debbie Reynolds-like famous actor mother) and, "Delusions of Grandma", "Surrender the Pink" and "The Best Awful"; and now, author and star of the stage story of her life "Wishful Drinking." She was also married for two years to Paul Simon, songwriter and singer.
Carrie Fisher, in Wishful Drinking, created and performed by Carrie Fisher directed by Tony Taccone and playing in the Bagley Wright Theatre April 2 to May 9, 2009. Photo Copyright Kevin Berne. Wishful Drinking is a Jonathan Reinis Production in association with Berkeley Repertory Theatre. For press inquires please contact Katie Jackman at 206-443-2210 x1001 or email@example.com.
As she begins talking on the stage, tabloid headlines, as markers of her life, sail across the background window: about Eddie Fisher leaving Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor, about Elizabeth Taylor leaving Eddie Fisher for Richard Burton, and on and on and on. Then, a blackboard drops down, headed Hollywood Inbreeding 101. She went through the various relationships in conjunction to her life and her parents' lives, and ended up with the grandchildren from various relationships and asks, "Are they related?" and they usually are, kind of, by marriage, by step relationships and by tabloid excesses.
One of our favorite stories involved her mother Debbie Reynolds. Reynolds grew up in Texas and her mother Maxine locked her in a closet when she disobeyed or was obstreperous. After about an hour, Debbie says, "Mommy, can I have a glass of water?" Maxine replies, "Why?" Child Debbie responds, "Because I've spit on all your dresses and I'm out of water. I want to spit in all your shoes." A skewered reaction, or is it survivorship?
Fisher's Mad Hatter ride through her drug addiction (Giving my phone number to the guy who pumped my stomach was probably a bad move), her diagnosis of Bi-Polar Disorder, her modern-day electroshock treatments, her marriage to Paul Simon, her marriage to a man who fathered her child Billie and then left her for another man, her gay man friend who died in his sleep, in her bed, while she slept. It's like listening while on the biggest roller coaster in the world, which turns upside down and inside out. All through this, she is insightful and skeweringly funny, poking her mother, her father and her men and especially herself, in sensitive places normally hidden, but here, open to the light of observation and dissection. It's the scientific method applied to the human psyche.
The audience loved her. They shouted in surprised laughter when she turned a corner in her presentation and gave them an unexpected observation. There were a few, a very few people who were not comfortable with her candid assessment of her life and the foibles of her family and acquaintances. One couple in the front row did not come back after the intermission. But others loved her colorful past. She would kneel down to be closer to the front row people and ask them questions and listen to theirs. She drew one man on stage that ended up with a Princess Leia wig, complete with cinnamon buns.
"Wishful Drinking" runs through May 3. Group tickets are available and there are $10 tickets for under-25 theater goers. Call the box office at 206-443-2222 for tickets and information or go online at www.seattlerep.org.
Seattle Rep's next production is "Breakin' Hearts and Takin' Names" by NPR contributor, storyteller and humorist Kevin Kling and his accordionist/singer Simone Perrin which runs now through May 10. Kling's production last year, "How How Why Why Why" was a hilarious story, told in first and third person, about his family, and a motorcycle accident that made his right arm useless. He had been born with a withered left arm and this left him really limited. He was learning his computer voice activated software when the dogs and cat got into a fight. The software recognized the dogs as how how and the cats as why why why.
We went with a group of friends who also enjoy great storytelling. We plan to do this again for this production. Tickets are available now.