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The Year of Magical Thinking

Dates: July 19-Aug 11, 2019
Run Time: 90 minutes with no intermission
Location: The Falls Theatre

In this dramatic adaptation of her award-winning, bestselling memoir (which The New York Times called “an indelible portrait of loss and grief…a haunting portrait of a four-decade-long marriage”), Joan Didion transforms the story of the sudden and unexpected loss of her husband and their only daughter into a stunning and powerful one-woman play.


Creative Team
Victor Pappas, Director
Catherine Cornell, Scenic Designer
Constanza Romero, Costume Designer
Robert Aguilar, Lighting Designer
Erin Bednarz, Sound Designer
Ruth Eitemiller, Stage Manager
Tori Thompson, Production Assistant

July 23 | 6:00 pm | Buster’s 
Behind the Scenes with Classical King FM
Get closer to the artists with Classical KING FM’s Sean MacLean as he interviews the show’s director, Victor Pappas.

July 25 | 6:45 pm
Red Carpet Opening Night
Enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne and be a part of the excitement on Opening Night!

July 28 (evening) and August 6 | Post Show Dialogue

July 28 – Featuring Special Guest, Nora Menkin, Executive Director, People’s Memorial Association

Nora Menkin was working as a stage manager in Seattle when The Co-op Funeral Home of People’s Memorial was forming in 2007. She jumped at the chance to be involved with such a wonderful organization. She began as an intern and worked her way up to being named the Managing Funeral Director in 2013, and now Executive Director of People’s Memorial Association and The Co-op Funeral Home. With a background in home funerals, Jewish traditions, and a passion for natural burial and modern funeral practices, Nora strives to make sure every family can make their arrangements according to their needs and wishes. Nora lives in Burien with her husband Nick and son, Sam.

People’s Memorial Association (PMA) was founded in 1939 in Seattle to ensure that everyone had information about and access to death care options that fit with their own values and resources. This year is our 80th Anniversary and we have over 72,000 living members in Washington State. While all of our education and resources are free for everyone, members receive access to discounted rates at partnering funeral homes across the state. Members are also part owners of The Co-op Funeral Home, one of the only not-for-profit cooperative funeral homes in the country, right here in Seattle. PMA was integral this year in legalizing human composting (recomposition) and aquamation (water cremation/ alkaline hydrolysis) in Washington State. PMA believes that everyone should be able to choose whichever death care option works best for their family and community.

August 6Founder of Death over Dinner, Michael Hebb will be the guest responder.

For the past 20 years Michael has been working to understand the secrets of human connection. His projects have turned into international movements and impacted millions. His second book “Let’s Talk About Death” published by Hachette/Da Capo will be available in the U.S., U.K., and Australia in October of 2018 and Russia, China, Indonesia, Poland and Romania in the fall of 2019.

Michael is a partner at RoundGlass and the Founder of,,, and The Living Wake. He currently serves as a Board Advisor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts; and in the recent past as Senior Advisor to Summit Series, Theo Chocolate, Learnist, Caffe Vita, CreativeLive, Architecture For Humanity, ONETASTE and Mosaic Voices Foundation .

In 1997 Hebb co-founded City Repair and Communitecture with architect Mark Lakeman, winning the AIA People’s Choice Award for the Intersection Repair Project. In 1999 Michael and Naomi Pomeroy co-founded Family Supper in Portland, a supper club that is credited with starting the pop-up restaurant movement. In the years following they opened the restaurants clarklewis and Gotham Bldg Tavern, garnering international acclaim.

After leaving Portland, Hebb built Convivium/One Pot, a creative agency that specialized in the ability to shift culture through the use of thoughtful food and discourse based gatherings. Convivium’s client list includes: The Obama Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, TEDMED, The World Economic Forum, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, X Prize Foundation, The Nature Conservancy.

Michael is the founding Creative Director of The City Arts Festival, the founder of Night School @ The Sorrento Hotel, the founder of and the founding Creative Director at the Cloud Room. He served as a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Communication at University of Washington. His writings have appeared in USA TODAY, GQ, Food and Wine and numerous other publications. Michael can often be found speaking at universities and conferences, here is his TEDMED talk.

Death Over Dinner was launched in 2013, tracking over 500 dinners in 20 countries. Since then there have been over a hundred thousand #deathdinners around the globe. This adventure began when we learned that 75% of Americans want to die at home, yet only 25% of them do. When we learned that how we end our lives is the most important and costly conversation America is not having. And when we realized that a conversation among loved ones, friends, and even strangers could begin to change these numbers, and bring the conversation about death back into mainstream culture.

This project was created as a gift, an invitation and a simple set of tools to help families and friends address the basic human fact that we are all, at some point, going to die. We suffer more when we don’t communicate our wishes, we suffer less when we know how to honor the wishes of our loved ones. As we build greater comfort and literacy around this important topic, every single one of us wins.

August 1 (evening) | 6:45 pm | Deep Dive | Buster’s
Join us for a deeper look at the play.
ACT Theatre’s Literary Manager Samie Detzer will discuss Joan Didion’s theatrical adaptation of her 2005 memoir about death and grief. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about this iconic writer and her work.

This pre-show event is not ticketed and free for anyone to attend.

July 30, August 4 (evening), and 10 (matinee) | after the show
Cast Chat*

Join us for an intimate conversation with Suzanne Bouchard after the performance.
(*Subject to change)

Age & Content Considerations: Contains adult themes.

ACT believes that our patrons can determine what is offensive for themselves, and what is appropriate for their children. We don’t create age restrictions but do our best to offer content advisories for each show. For detailed information about show content and possible triggers, please contact

“The passion lies underneath…this quirky, defiantly literary play…Her writing sounds like an out-of-body experience.”
—Washington Post

“This play is a meditation on how quickly life can change. Something I’ve been thinking about over the last few years. It happens to all of us, but there are few artists who have had the ability to dig so deeply and show us the truth of our common experience in a new light.”
—John Langs

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