LIFE SUCKS at Open Book Theatre, 9/8-30
Some days we're pretty sure that life sucks. Other days we might feel that life is full of beauty and wonder.
If that sounds familiar, you're likely to enjoy the Michigan Premiere of Life Sucks by Aaron Posner at Open Book Theatre, running September 8-30.
"We're all complicated messes of emotions and opinions and experiences," says director Krista Schafer Ewbank. "We have things we want that we very well may never get. Sometimes we get what we want and we still aren't happy. Life sucks! I don't know anyone who can't relate to that, at least some of the time."
"I love the conscious theatricality and genuine intimacy of this play," says Dale Dobson, who plays the Professor. The play is a modern take on Anton Chekhov's masterpiece Uncle Vanya. Chekhov was a Russian playwright and short story writer known for finding comedy in his slice of life portrayals. Schafer Ewbank adds "I've always loved the plays of Anton Chekhov, but they can sometimes be hard for modern audiences. This retelling has all the love and longing and humor of the original, with a modern American sensibility. I fell in love with it the first time I read it. The play stands on its own without any knowledge of the original, although if you know the original it is fun to see the direct correlations and where it has departed or updated."
Life Sucks focuses on a group of seven old friends, ex-lovers, estranged in-laws, and lifelong enemies as they collide and stumble their way towards a new understanding that life sucks! Or does it? The play invites the audience along on the journey in an interesting way, often asking them to literally be part of the conversation. "Each person will connect with something different. There are characters, moments, lines, and thoughts that will resonate differently with different people," says Taylor Morrow who plays Sonia. "I hope [the audience leaves] with a sense of power. I hope they take away that life absolutely can suck sometimes, but that it doesn't always. We should love it and live it thoroughly."
Mandy Logsdon plays Pickles. "I love that this play is about understanding ourselves, becoming aware of our imperfections and our poor choices and then using this newfound awareness to start anew. That's the part I connect with at least. Pickles doesn't even see her part in the way her life has turned out until one of her very last spoken lines. And she says it without thinking, and it slaps her in the face. I love how authentic and rich in fault all these characters are. How Mr. Posner shows us the breakdown of each character's denial systems and how they cope with that. And he writes each character so truthfully that we can't help but laugh at how ridiculous humans can be when it comes to personal relationships both romantic and not. We laugh because we relate. It's a lovely play."
The Chicago Tribune called it "a funny, wise night that reminds you of how much more fun theater can be than any other form of dramatic entertainment."
The show features Joshua Brown as Vanya, Taylor Morrow as Sonia, Jonathon Davidson as Aster, Dale Dobson as Professor, Caitlin Morrison as Ella, Linda Rabin Hammell as Babs and Mandy Logsdon as Pickles. Krista Schafer Ewbank directs. Harley Miah is designing the lights. Danielle Gilbert is stage managing.
Individual tickets are only $20, or $15 for students or seniors, with tickets for the opening night show and gala at $30 each. Tickets can be purchased online at openbooktc.com. More information can be found online or by calling 734 288-7753.
Life Sucks is the first show in the company's fourth season, and you can save money by purchasing season tickets for all 5 shows: $85, $65 for students and seniors, or $100 for opening night.
LIFE SUCKS performance dates and times
Friday Sept 8, 8pm *opening night, all tickets $30. Includes afterglow
Saturday Sept 9, 8pm
Friday Sept 15, 8pm
Saturday Sept 16, 8pm
Sunday Sept 17, 2pm followed by a discussion with the artists
Friday Sept 22, 8pm
Saturday Sept 23, 8pm
Sunday Sept 24, 2pm followed by a discussion with the artists
Thursday Sept 28, 8pm
Friday Sept 29, 8pm
Saturday Sept 30, 8pm