Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Heidi Chronicles to Tell Women’s Movement Story at Manhattanville College
Monday, 02 December 2013 12:44

Carol Fox Prescott

Master acting teacher and performance coach Carol Fox Prescott jumped at the chance to guest direct “The Heidi Chronicles” at Manhattanville College to not only help improve the student’s acting skills but also teach them about American history as well.

“It’s almost impossible to describe to people how different all of those events made the planet,” Fox Prescottsaid, mentioning that the play coincides with the Women’s Rights Movement and includes other historical events such as the death of John Lennon, the resignation of President Richard Nixon, and the AIDS Crisis.

The play, written by Wendy Wasserstein, which won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, follows the life of a high school girl, Heidi in the mid-1960s through to her adult life in the mid-1980s, and shows how her life and way of thinking changes during that timeframe. Fox Prescott feels close to the subject matter because many of the same incidents that affect Heidi’s life are similar to her own.

“I get to reveal my history, so it’s really an exciting balance that we are going for,” she said adding that it was one of the reasons she chose to do the play.

Fox Prescott, 73, first became an acting coach in her 30s when her acting career hit a bad patch, and her phone book fell open to the acting schools section. She then taught at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts for 11 years, followed by six years at the T. Schreiber Studio, before opening up her own studio.

"Life is full of things like that you just have to pay attention to," she said describing the random luck of her phone book plopping open to the acting schools page that led to her 40-year teaching career, "There is so much in front of us all of the time and to stay awake and make decisions on all of it is a full-time job." 

Although she has considered herself retired for two years, Fox Prescott will still work occasionally like directing “The Heidi Chronicles” at Manhattanville, as well as making annual trips to teach in Paris for a week and at Shantigar.

“The Heidi Chronicles” will run Dec. 5 through 7 with shows at 8 p.m. and will end with a 2 p.m. show on Dec. 8. Performances will take place in the Ex Theatre in Founders Hall at Manhattanville College, 2900 Purchase St., Purchase, N.Y., 10577.

Admission is $5 with a Manhattanville I.D. or $10 for the general public. For reservations call the Manhattanville College Dance & Theatre box office at 914-323-7175.