Photo Flash: Dianne Wiest Stars In HAPPY DAYS At the Mark Taper Forum

The Yale Repertory Theatre production of Samuel Beckett's classic "Happy Days" has begun performances at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum. Directed by James Bundy, the production features Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest("Hannah and Her Sisters," "Bullets Over Broadway") as Winnie and Michael Rudko as Willie. Currently in previews, "Happy Days" will play at the Mark Taper Forum through June 30, 2019, with the opening set for May 22 at 8 p.m.

The design team includes scenic designer Izmir Ickbal, costume designer Alexae Visel, lighting designer Stephen Strawbridge and sound designer Kate Marvin. Catherine Sheehy and Nahuel Telleria serve as dramaturgs and the production stage manager is Kelly Montgomery.

Samuel Beckett's absurdist masterpiece "Happy Days" centers on Winnie (played by Wiest). With her husband Willie (played by Rudko) increasingly out of reach and the earth itself threatening to swallow her whole, Winnie's buoyant optimism shields her from the harsh glare of the inevitable in this absurdly funny and boundlessly compassionate portrait of the human spirit. Winnie is considered modern drama's pinnacle female role. She is an endlessly fascinating spirit of cheery resourcefulness and unassuming grace in the face of inevitable oblivion in a play Wiest refers to as "Hamlet" for women.

Jesse Green of the New York Times said, "Ms. Wiest's Winnie is more like nature's plaything, knocked about and childlike. Several times I thought I recognized in her skittishness the affect of an abused woman, clinging to what abuses her, which in this case is life." He adds, "She shows us what a deeply womanly role Beckett has written, albeit one whose tragedy is refracted through a distorting comic lens. She finds laughs not only in the words but also in the gaps between.

Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz.

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