THE HEIDI CHRONICLES is a strange piece of business, isn’t it? I mean – I like the idea of following a young woman through her life in the turbulent times of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The concept intrigues; but for me the payoff is lackluster. With a two-hour-and-a-half-plus run time, there’s plenty of time to make me care about Heidi . . . but with all the extra characters, preachy text, and unlikable personalities I just found it all boring.
It’s not the fault of the wonderful students involved, though. Sarah Davenport does the best she can with an underdeveloped lead character. Her sharp improv skills were evident at the beginning of Act Two as she waited for everyone to get seated. This unscripted moment proved to be the best of the show.
Connor Lawrence has the unenviable job of taking the over-the-top arrogant Scoop Rosenbaum and attempting to show us why Heidi would pine for him for 30 years. Lawrence carries himself like a senior. I suspect with his abilities, appearance, and talent we’ll be hearing from him on a national stage. But for a show about feminism, Heidi sure does act like nearly every female lead character we’ve seen time and time again. The same goes for her gay best friend, Peter, played by Colin Edgar. She tolerates his anger, narcissism, and disinterest in her like a young self-esteem-impaired waif.
I wonder what AC Horton’s “Fran” would say to her after seeing this? That’s the show I want to see. In fact, I’d love to see a show featuring Horton’s “Fran” being interviewed by Katie Langham’s “April.” These two confident, empowered women are the best characters in the show and it’s a shame they are given such little to do.
Director Richard Hess has staged the transitions in a fun way and I did enjoy hearing the music of the eras portrayed as well as seeing these drama majors cut a rug, especially Ryan Garrett. Costumes, wigs, and set pieces are all great – and what we’ve become accustomed to by the crew at CCM. It’s a fine production of a mediocre play. I wish I’d enjoyed the show more; I just kept wondering why I was supposed to care about any of these self-absorbed people.
Kudos to all who poured their hard work into the production. It was visually interesting, at least.
Next up for CCM Drama is TRANSMIGRATION 2015, a wonderful festival of new works created by the students themselves. Its’ free of charge but tickets are required and become available on Monday, March 9th at 12PM. Click here for more information.