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Hello, Good-bye Girl

Marsha Mason's new Cal Shakes role in Happy Days


Marsha Mason’s new role for California Shakespeare Theater is unlike any that the four-time Oscar nominee has played. In Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, Mason plays Winnie, a woman who is buried in sand up to her breasts. As the show goes on, the sand keeps mounting, and this desperate housewife chatters on about how groovy her life is, in classic Beckett absurdist fashion.

“I’ve never had a role like this before, which is exciting,” says Mason, who just finished an acclaimed run on Broadway, with Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen in Impressionism. “As part of the Beckett canon, it’s a very important role.”

Winnie has been referred to as the “ultimate Earth mother,” which isn’t too big a stretch for Mason, who developed a line of wellness products called Resting in the River from her organic garden. Mason performed at ACT in San Francisco in the early ’70s, before making such acclaimed films as Cinderella Liberty, The Goodbye Girl, and Chapter Two.

“I can’t wait to work with [Artistic Director] Jonathan Moscone, whom I have known since he was in college with my daughter, Nancy,” says Mason. “We’ve been talking about collaborating for many years, so this will be a great thrill.”

Happy Days runs August 12–September 6 at Bruns Amphitheater in Orinda. For tickets and information, visit calshakes.org.

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