Welcome to Shirley’s world, a place where the most extraordinary ordinary person can admit her failure, give in to despair, fight back, and finally, with brilliant humility and a wicked sense of humor, summon the courage to change everything as potently as any hero in the canon of Western literature.
I’ve been watching Chris Decker every evening create this world, inch by inch, tear by tear, guffaw by… Somehow it’s become my amazing privilege to be the observer of a big act of alchemy by a truly gifted and skilled artist. I have not been a very objective observer in these rehearsals—ordinarily I’m obsessed with arcane matters of cadence, movement and timing but lately, weeping and laughing, I’ve found myself thinking more about—for instance—how men and women talk with each other, how our lives depend on it.
Chris has taken me to a much deeper place than I expected to visit with this play. She has made me a huge fan of Willy Russell, and I feel like I have found a lifelong friend in Shirley Valentine.