Heidi, through the years

Play reviews history with humor, emotions

What: "The Heidi Chronicles" produced by Riverland Community College.

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15-18 and 2 p.m. Nov. 19.

Where: Frank W. Bridges Theatre, Riverland Community College.

Tickets: $10, available at Coffee House on Main, downtown Austin and the Riverland Box Office, 433-0595.


Note: Recommended for ages 16 and up.

By Christina Killion Valdez

Relive 24 years in two hours as Riverland Community College Theatre Department presents "The Heidi Chronicles."

The play follows the life of Heidi Holland, played by Jacquie Franz, starting in 1965 at age 16 and continuing until she turns 40 in 1989, the year the Pulitzer Prize-winning play was written.

"It’s warm. It’s funny. It’s poignant. It’s serious," said director Jerry Girton, explaining that as the play flips through the years it also flips through emotions.

"There are some scenes that are so funny," he said.

In one, there’s a TV show looking forward to the 1980s, with that innate humor of the 1970s, he said.


"Then the next scene is with Peter, who we find out is gay and a lot of his friends died of AIDS when the epidemic first started," Girton said.

Pop culture references, like the days John Lennon was shot and President Nixon resigned and references to the Vietnam War help audiences keep up on the fast-paced time changes, Girton said.

Music also helps the transitions between the 11 scene changes, he said. As the play goes from 1965 to 1967, for example, a shoop-shoop song switches to Janis Joplin.

A few of the things that remain the same through the years are Heidi’s friends. They are Peter, played by Eric Morlan; Scoop, played by Dan Yoder; and Susan, played by Jenny Bute.

As the times change so do the views of Heidi’s friends, Girton said.

"She’s kind of like the sounding board," he said of Heidi.

The play hits home for a lot of people, including himself, Girton said.

"I’m almost exactly Heidi’s age," he said. "It’s fun for baby boomers to relive the decades and for kids to see what life was like in Mom and Dad’s day."

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