Written by Aaron Posner
Directed by Jeff Wise
The Acorn Theatre, Theatre Row
July 17, 2019 - Sept 1, 2019
It’s Chekhov without the birch trees. After taking aim at The Seagull with his “explosive” Stupid F*cking Bird, Aaron Posner is back with an irreverent contemporary remix of Uncle Vanya. Egos clash, hearts hunger, and souls cry out for meaning in this raw and hilarious reimagining of Chekhov’s timeless classic, receiving its New York premiere by the red-hot Wheelhouse Theater Company.
"Bitingly funny and unexpectedly touching…. “The characters and basic plot will be familiar to “Uncle Vanya” fiends. But at the same time, “Life Sucks.” will be familiar to just about anybody. Chekhov’s play has transcended the centuries because it is about timeless concerns: how hard it is to communicate with others, the vagaries — and unfairness — of love, the idea that life is something you must simultaneously endure and make the most of. And underneath the fourth-wall-breaking jokes and contemporary references, Mr. Posner has preserved those elements. He understands full well that there is no date stamp on feeling stranded between regrets and hopes, between fancy dreams and the banality of existence."
“One could mount a superb Vanya with this exact cast; it’s a dream team, warm and real and confident under Jeff Wise’s calm direction…Roll up your sleeve and make a fist: After one quick two-and-a-half-hour injection, you’ll be ready to face the spring.”
"A bighearted, thoroughly delightful comedy — “Uncle Vanya” is a true ensemble piece, but Posner’s version is even more democratically apportioned: all seven actors are outstanding, and each has almost equal opportunity to prove it. Jeff Wise’s direction is delightfully alert to possibility."
"In 2018, Wheelhouse Theater Company staged one of the best plays of the year, a no-holds-barred version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday, Wanda June. The New York City troupe has now delivered one of the best plays of 2019, Aaron Posner’s outrageously funny, irreverent reimagining of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya titled Life Sucks."
"Watch Austin Pendleton own the stage. Even his silence dominates. Every expression on his face is a gem worth watching. He is all there, all the time. He dominates the production. His acting is a masterpiece. You may never get to see another that equals it in your lifetime."
Director: Jeff Wise
Scenic Design: Brittany Vasta
Costume Design: Christopher Metzger
Lighting Design: Drew Florida
Sound Design: Mark Van Hare
Stage Manager: Caitlin O'Rourke
Assistant Stage Manager: David Kenner
Production Manager: Drew Francis
GM/Executive Producer: Visceral Entertainment
Cast: Nadia Bowers, Kimberly Chatterjee, Barbara Kingsley, Stacey Linnartz, Austin Pendleton, Michael Schantz, Kevin Isola, Jeff Biehl, Michael Broadhurst, Jed Diamond, Jenny Strassburg
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