It's been a while since I've seen Uncle Vanya, so I refreshed my memory before seeing the show. But you don't need to, the relationships of these characters is fully explained and the story easy to follow. The playwright has written the play in a unique style that alternates between direct audience addresses and scenes telling the story, with lots of fourth wall breaking and even a bit of audience participation, in the form of questions asked and responses welcomed.
|this wonderful cast (photo by Nicole Neri)|
In this partnership between the two theater companies, Open Eye's Artistic Director Joel Sass directs the piece and designed the set (natch). It's just so beautifully done, both the direction and the design, achieving that tricky balance in tone between humor, silliness, and play, and the melancholy and wistfulness of the profound questions asked (and asked quite literally - what is life?!). Every performance is consistent with this tone, every actor has moments of humor and despair and everything in between. This brilliant script really couldn't be in any better hands than this cast and creative team.
|photo by Nicole Neri|
We're about two months into the 2023-2024 season, and Life Sucks is truly one of my favorite things I've seen so far. It's a silly, funny, entertaining story that also ponders life's big questions, written in a unique style that lets us all know that we're watching a play, but still casts a spell over us and takes us on this journey through the highs and lows of life. There are so many things that suck about life right now - wars, mass shootings, diminishing Civil Rights - but still, there's life. There are still things that don't suck, and theater that reminds us of both of those aspects of life is certainly one of them.