Having passed the two-decade mark, Marquette University senior Bonnie Auguston is about the same age as the play she is starring in this month. But the woman she'll portray spans considerably more time. Now through Feb. 22, Auguston stars in the title role of Marquette University's production of The Heidi Chronicles.
As Heidi, Auguston will be in high school; and in college; and in love; and into public protests; and a mother-but not all at the same time. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by the late Wendy Wasserstein focuses on pivotal moments in the life of a woman destined to be an art historian-moments affected by the evolving cultural climate of the late 20th century. At the beginning of the play, set in the mid-'60s, we see her at a high-school dance. Later in the decade, we find her at a political function. Then she's in a women's group meeting in the early-'70s, followed by a protest outside the Art Institute of Chicago in the mid-'70s. And so on.
Auguston, who has made notable appearances in Marquette's recent productions of Moon Over Buffalo and The Cherry Orchard, is challenged to not only serve as the center of an entire production, but also to portray a bright, articulate distillation of women's social struggles through 30 crucial years of the past century. The script covers history that will be strikingly familiar to many in the Marquette Theatre audience, which always includes a fair number of baby boomers. And while Auguston may not have lived through these times, the attractive, dark-haired young woman will be guided by witty dialogue as she navigates Heidi's life.
A sizable cast will join Auguston. Fellow senior Kevin Hogan stars as Heidi's best friend, a gay pediatrician named Peter. Sophomore Joe Picchetti features as Scoop Rosenbaum, Heidi's love interest. Freshman Lillian Figg-Franzoi plays Susan Johnston, a longtime friend of Heidi's who develops quite a rsum throughout the play's three decades. Adjunct associate professor Phylis Ravel is set to direct.
Marquette University's The Heidi Chronicles runs Feb. 12-22 at the Evan P. & Marion Helfaer Theatre.