Wasserstein Describes Significance of `Heidi'

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein spoke yesterday at the Loeb Mainstage about the motivations for and effects of her play, The Heidi Chronicles.

Wasserstein said the play is the story of one woman's discovery of feminism. Like many of the fin-desiecle plays appearing now, she noted, The Heidi Chronicles is about "trying to put it all together."

Wasserstein said she wrote the piece because she "didn't recognize any of the women" in many other plays she was seeing at the time.

The graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and the Yale Drama School answered questions following a presentation of three scenes from the recent student production of her play, which Carolyn Rendell '94 directed in the Leverett House Old Library.

Wasserstein said she developed her idea as she watched women adjust from the radical '60s and '70s to the Reagan '80s and wondered, "how did you get from here to there?"


The play follows the lives of art historian Heidi Holland and her friends, as they journey from high school in suburban Chicago to adulthood. Wasserstein said that initially she "thought it was going to be just Heidi's story," but it became the story of a generation.

Wasserstein believes that the play speaks to people of all ages because the issues Heidi confronts are still relevant. As one member of the audience said, "All women trying to make sense of their lives" sound like the characters in The Heidi Chronicles.

Wasserstein said she wasn't trying to be controversial or to define a generation; she said she didn't write the play so that people would say, "well, honey, we can get two tickets to Cats or we can see a play about a feminist arthistorian who becomes sad."

Wasserstein believes that The HeidiChronicles affected popular views of women andthe Baby Boom generation because "the theater isstill where different voices and ideas come from."She said the theater will continue to be thesource of ideas which cannot gain a forum in themovies or on TV