Diarist, Poet, Lover: Anais Nin Revealed Anew in One of Her Lives in NYC

News   Diarist, Poet, Lover: Anais Nin Revealed Anew in One of Her Lives in NYC
Angela Christian, Broadway's Miss Dorothy from Thoroughly Modern Millie and more recently the opalescent title character in The Woman in White, is erotica author Anais Nin in the American premiere of Wendy Beckett's play, Anais Nin — One of Her Lives, beginning Aug. 3.
David Bishins and Angela Christian in Anais Nin
David Bishins and Angela Christian in Anais Nin Photo by Richard Termine

Beckett directs her own work, which also features David Bishins (as Henry Miller), Alysia Reiner and Rocco Sisto. Performances play Off-Broadway at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row on West 42nd Street. Opening is Aug. 5.


Australian-based Pascal Productions presents the production, "set in 1930s Paris, when many artists, escaping the confines of their morals and culture, converged on France in the hope of finding a greater aesthetic life," according to production notes. "The play follows the development of a writer who, in the end, must choose her own path if she is to succeed in her literary ambition." The play traces the complicated love triangle between Anais Nin, author Henry Miller and his wife June.

The literary ménage a trois was examined in the film "Henry and June." American novelist and diarist Nin was born in Paris and lived 1903-77. She penned several novels, including "A Spy in the House of Love," but is best known for her volumes of diaries, which charted her personal, psychological and sexual life. She also wrote essays and criticism.

According to production notes, "Anais Nin's renowned diaries offer a voyeuristic view into the inner workings of a woman—her feelings, thoughts, love, sexuality, ambitions and intellectual aspirations. Her diaries have been read by millions of men and women alike. After forming a romantic liaison with American author, Henry Miller, Nin became a femme fatale and wrote pieces on erotica. The antithesis of her, Miller's brutal fiction shone a bright light on sexuality while Nin reveled in feminine mystique. The two ultimately became the 'literary icons' of their age. Together, as two sides of a coin, they created for audiences 'the artists life' to which many aspire." Writer-director Wendy Beckett's literary mentor was English author Lawrence Durrell of "The Alexandria Quartet," who was best friends with Anais Nin and Henry Miller. Beckett, an Australian native, studied literature, psychology and medicine in Adelaide, South Australia. She has written and directed over 24 plays and currently has an opera titled Bliss, based on the novel by Peter Carey, about to tour the world. Her most recent play, performed at the Sydney Opera House, was For the Love of Alma Mahler, a work that combined musicians from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with theatre actors. Beckett has written numerous books, radio plays, biographies, and conducted interviews with Gore Vidal, Leonard Bernstein, Martha Graham, and Paul Bowles. She is currently at work on a new play set in Mexico about Italian photographer, Tina Modotti, and her partner American photographer Edward Weston.

Angela Christian originated the role of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White in London and again played it on Broadway. For her work in Thoroughly Modern Millie, she was nominated for a 2002 Outer Critics Circle Award. David Bishins appeared in the Obie Award winning Sympathetic Magic by Lanford Wilson at Second Stage. Screen Actors Guild Award winner (Outstanding Performance Ensemble Cast, "Sideways") Alysia Reiner will play June Miller and Anais Nin's Mother. Rocco Sisto, who will play Dr. Rank and Anais Nin's Father, originated the role of the Marquis de Sade in Doug Wright's Quillsat the New York Theatre Workshop, for which he was honored with Obie, Drama League and Encore Awards (he was also nominated for a Drama Desk Award).

Halcyon Pratt is scenic and costume designer, Travis Walker is sound designer, Robin A. Patterson is lighting designer. Production stage manager is Heather Arnson.

Performances continue to Aug. 26. The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row is located at 410 W. 42nd Street.

Tickets are $45; students/seniors $35; previews $22. For tickets, visit www.ticketcentral.com or call (212) 279-4200, or visit Theatre Row.

Rocco Sisto and Angela Christian in <i>Anais Nin </i>
Rocco Sisto and Angela Christian in Anais Nin Photo by Richard Termine
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