Joan Didion's husband died suddenly one evening while she was preparing a salad for dinner in their New York apartment. After some time, Didion explored her terrible loss in a memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, which was eventually staged as a play starring Vanessa Redgrave. This year, Wendy Ishii took on the role at Bas Bleu Theatre Company, and her performance was mesmerizing. Didion, according to her own account, is a "cool customer," and her prose is wry, strong, musical and sometimes almost detached. Ishii, whose great strength as an actor is her emotional depth and expression, reined herself in to take on Didion's persona, shaping her own large talent to the contours of another artist's consciousness — which made the single moment when she revealed the chaos and anguish within doubly moving.