Like so many people, my familiarity with the creator and performer of Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher, started with a little movie called Star Wars, in which a funny hairdo (and later a gold bikini) turned her into an instant icon. Then came her buzzed-about marriage to Paul Simon, her well-publicized adventures with a variety of substances, and the dazzling book that came of those adventures, "Postcards From the Edge." To claim that Carrie has led an interesting life would be an understatement. It’s fair to say that this is a woman with more than enough material for a show about herself. And maybe a few sequels.
What’s wonderful is that Carrie is acutely aware of the inescapable navel-gazing nature of doing a solo piece, and she is upfront about the fact that her intent is not to go on stage every night and make you feel sorry for all of the difficulties that she has lived through. Rather, she takes responsibility for her own actions and says in one of my favorite lines in the show, “If my life weren’t funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable.”
Carrie’s willingness to laugh at the hard-to-believe life she has led is a great lesson for anyone who has ever tried to move on from disaster. And the laughs are plentiful. Whether addressing the failed marriage of her movie-star parents (Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher), the trials of living with bipolar disorder, or the oddity of discovering that you’ve been turned into a Pez dispenser, Carrie meets every obstacle in her path with the wit of a survivor.
For someone whose life seems incredible (this is a woman whose parents had Cary Grant call to tell her to stop using LSD – twice!), Carrie is refreshingly authentic and is simply herself onstage. She is funny, honest, bawdy, and a truly fantastic performer. There is no one else quite like her.
Carrie is one of the great comedic writers of her generation, and I’m thrilled to have her sharing her play and herself with us at Studio 54. And just as Carrie doesn’t hesitate to share every skeleton in her closet with the audience, I hope that you will share your thoughts on her show with me.
I look forward to seeing you at the theater!
2009-2010 Season, Wishful Drinking