The solo-actor play, using Leigh's own words, is written and performed by Marcy Lafferty and has played regional and international engagements, including a run in Los Angeles. John Edw. Blankenchip directs.
The play had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, and its first public U.S. run at the Tiffany Theater in L.A., where it ran five months.
Performances began Nov. 3 at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia and continue to Nov. 12.
According to production notes, "The play begins as Leigh herself sweeps onto the stage for her last press conference — still the glamorous movie star. But it's an illusion. Long past Scarlett's prime, no longer the Georgia peach, she is the thorny English rose who orchestrated her career and romance with Sir Laurence Olivier like Grant took Richmond, no matter the cost.
"She drifts between past and present, the past always present, in an attempt to define herself this one last time, exposing Viv, the world's darling, desperate for truth and stripped to the bone. Driven by the duel demons, manic depression and tuberculosis, Leigh believed herself to be defined by three roles — Scarlett O'Hara from 'Gone With the Wind,' Blanche Dubois from 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' and Lady O, the wife of Olivier — and was tortured by them." Lafferty wrote, directed and starred in the short subject film, "Vivien, The Movie, The Marriage, The Madness." This film was the impetus for the current stage production, a more comprehensive study of the life of Vivien Leigh.
While a cum laude student at University of Southern California, Lafferty was a member of Festival Theatre USC USA, which was the first American troupe to participate in the Edinburgh International Drama Festival, appearing as Abigail in The Crucible, Loededis in Dear Friends, Katherine in Suddenly Last Summer, Elise and Maggie in After the Fall and as a singer-dancer in Guys and Dolls and Pal Joey. She met director John Edw. Blankenchip through the program, who, 30 years later was instrumental in bringing Vivien Leigh — The Last Press Conference to the stage.
Blankenchip is Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California's School of Theatre. He has designed scenery, costumes and lighting on and off Broadway, and at La Jolla Playhouse, Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, and for the Guild Opera in Los Angeles.
Lafferty has appeared on Los Angeles stages in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Simon Gray's Otherwise Engaged as Divina Saunders. Most recently, Los Angeles audiences have seen her play Portia in The Author's Voice at the Stella Adler Theatre.
Lafferty toured the U.S. in Love Letters with William Shatner, to whom she was married for 20 years. Her fiancé is Elliot King.
Symphony Space tickets $25-$31. Performances continue 8 PM Nov. 4; 2 PM & 8 PM Nov. 5; 8 PM Nov 6 & 11; 2 PM & 8 PM Nov. 12.
Visit the Symphony Space website by clicking here, or for box office information, call (212) 864-5400.
For more information about the show, visit www.vivien.com.