Brenda Cooper

Play review, Love, Janis

My parents took me and my son to see the play Love, Janis at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix night before last. Plays about artists (writers, artists, singers, actors) often touch me more deeply than other topics.
This was as much a concert as a play…a concert of her songs, her letters, her interviews: her voice in many forms. The Janis who loved the stage and feared it came through, the vulnerable twenty-something who drank southern comfort like water to keep her feet on stage.
It makes me grateful writing is a bit more back-door. When I give a talk I usally sleep badly the night before, arrive exhausted, and then the adrenaline kicks in and my subconsious delivers a talk and afterwards I nap somewere dark and quiet. But when I write, the things that scare me are between me and the page or between me and another writer over a beer. Our work is judged after we’ve done it. How much harder to need to be on every moment, to need some way to access your bright brave and authentic self while thousands watch?
No wonder the Paris Hiltons and the Janis Joplins and Jimi Hendrixes are so challenged.
The play was worth seeing. And hearing. Loud, like the sixties, and intensely psychadelic like the sixties. And a little sad, too.