The Heidi Chronicles: Bringing the Audience on Stage

By: Katie Keyser ’16
Staff Writer

The cast of The Heidi Chronicles brought the audience back in time to the late 20th century.

The play took place May 8-10 in Geiger-Reeves Auditorium. The Heidi Chronicles follows the life of a young girl named Heidi through pivotal and important moments in her high school, college and young-adult life.

“The scenes are all a snippet in time. It’s so interesting that it’s episodic and it’s not a straight through line,” Jay Jaski, the spring play director and arts department teacher, said.

The Heidi Chronicles takes place in the 1960-1980 during the feminist movement. Throughout the play, Heidi struggles in balancing her work, relationships with friends such as Susan and Peter, while also trying to develop a family life with her boyfriend, Scoop.

“The central theme is, especially for a woman, what does it mean to try to have everything, to try to have a career and a family at the same time?” Jaski said.

“This play was a more sophisticated play that required the audience to do a lot of thinking,” Rebecca DiLuzio ’16, who played Denise, said. “It had many references to the time period it was set in and had a huge amount of history in it that I think the most recent plays didn’t have too much of.”

The stage for The Heidi Chronicles was set up differently from the usual play or musical at Peddie. Instead of having the audience sit in the rows and balcony of the theater, the audience sat in risers in 3 different directions on the stage.

“Having the audience sit around the stage in such a close environment gave the performance more of a personal effect, and immersed the audience in the play, in contrast to larger plays in the past,” Amanda Bullock ’16, audience member, said.
The first scene of the play and another critical scene were set in a lecture hall with Heidi giving a presentation on women’s art. To show the transition of scenes throughout different periods in Heidi’s life, the setting and times were projected on multiple screens.
“The scene designer had the idea of a lecture hall, that really the whole play was a lecture. Then, we got thinking about projections and the audience,” Jaski said. “I was really into using projections to show where we are and what year.”

At the beginning of The Heidi Chronicles, Heidi is frequently pushed around by other characters and is not fully content with her life. However, by the end of the play, Heidi is beginning to make her own life choices.

“Although Heidi is the protagonist, she is always fighting to be the protagonist in her own play and her own world,” Jaski said. “It’s not until the final scene in the play where she decides to adopt a baby that we see she’s taking ownership of her own life. That’s when she finally tries to get her own sense of inner happiness.”

Malley Chertkov ’15, who played Heidi, appreciated portraying a character that experienced a transformation.
“I love the passion and confusion in all my scenes with Scoop, but I especially like the last scene where I finally say goodbye to him forever,” Chertkov said. “I think it’s tender, and there’s affection there, but it’s also where we see Heidi become who she was meant to be. She’s an adult, and ready to become who she is without Scoop.”

The audience agreed.

“Compared to the other plays I have seen at Peddie, this is by far the most emotionally tugging play I have seen,” Nishad Nalgundwar ’17, audience member, said. “Because of all the ideas and concepts in the play, I felt a connection and an understanding through the told tales of Heidi.”