“Penelope,” a New Play Written and Performed by Ellen McLaughlin, Will Premiere at PlayMakers Rep

"Penelope" playwright and performer Ellen McLaughlin will share the stage with a string quartet (PRC photo by Andrea Akin)

PlayMakers Repertory Company will present the world premiere of “Penelope,” a new one-woman show written and performed by Ellen McLaughlin and directed by Lisa Rothe, with music composed by Sarah Kirkland Snider for an onstage string quartet(!), on April 25-29 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“The Year of Magical Thinking” Tugs at the Heartstrings

“The Year of Magical Thinking” tells a tragic story that would make stones weep, and New York actress Ellen McLaughlin gives a luminous, moist-eyed performance as Joan Didion as she works her way through the five stages of grief, according to the Kübler-Ross model: (1) Denial and Isolation, (2) Anger, (3) Bargaining, (4) Depression, and (5) Acceptance.

Ellen McLaughlin Stars in Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking” at PlayMakers Repertory Company

Ellen McLaughlin plays grieving California writer Joan Didion in "The Year of Magical Thinking"

“The Year of Magical Thinking” is 76-year-old California novelist Joan Didion’s stage adaptation of her 2005 National Book Award-winning memoir about the death of her husband John Gregory Dunne in 2003 and the hospitalization of their daughter Quintana Roo Dunne Michael that same year for pneumonia with septic shock.