Book Review – The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe by Jane Wagner
First published, 1986
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Now, some of you might remember that, some time ago, having had zero luck in locating a DVD or streamable copy of the National Theatre’s London Assurance from 2010 (starring my favourite, Fiona Shaw, as well as the totally wonderful and much missed Richard Briers), I bought the print copy of Dion Boucicault’s original play and exercised my imagination.
Well, I’ve done the same sort of thing again. I was three years old and in Croydon when the play – The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe – was first performed in New York. Although there are DVDs available, the ones I have located are all set to Region 1 and I’m not technical. So, I went for the book.
I’ve been a lifelong fan of Lily Tomlin. Ever since my mother, who was devoted to Barry Manilow, was given one of his LPs for her birthday and, on side two, track three, I discovered The Last Duet.
Go ahead, give it a listen. I’ll wait.
Anyway, when I was old enough to notice things, I was delighted to know that Lily Tomlin has been working with her wife, Jane Wagner, for a good chunk of her life. They’ve now been a couple for forty-nine years and have collaborated on a number of projects, which I find utterly delightful.
The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe is the one-woman, multiple-character stage play, written by Jane Wagner and starring Lily Tomlin. The play centres around Trudy, a funny, thoughtful, mentally-complicated, bag lady who is tasked with explaining modern American life, as well as the difference between art and soup, to aliens from outer space. During the play, we meet all manner of different characters as Trudy channel surfs through their lives.
I laughed so hard and repeatedly. I am jealous as holy hell of those who got to see this play on Broadway but I am so pleased I’ve read it now. I couldn’t help reading the play with Lily Tomlin’s voice in my head. Definitely recommended.