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The 7 Reasons “Life Sucks” Doesn’t Suck

September 28, 2016 by Constance Fred
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Lookingglass Theatre just opened their production of Aaron Posner’s play Life Sucks, a modern makeover of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. (You might also remember Aaron for his earlier Chekhov redo Stupid F*cking Bird.)

Despite the title, the play does not suck. It’s actually pretty great and here are the seven reasons why.

1. Eddie Jemison.

Eddie Jemison, photo credit HBO
Eddie Jemison, photo credit HBO

Eddie Jemison leads the ensemble as Vanya. We have loved Eddie Jemison since his adorable supporting role as Ogie in the 2007 film Waitress (which, in turn, we loved long before the Broadway adaptation.) He is similarly adorable in Life Sucks; apparently the so-in-love-it’s-slightly-annoying-but-still-kind-of-cute-in-spite-of-itself vibe is his aesthetic, and we are all for it!

2. Feminism.

Danielle Zuckerman and Chaon Cross, photo credit Lookingglass Theatre
Danielle Zuckerman and Chaon Cross, photo credit Liz Lauren

For a play by and about men there are some nice feminist moments of solidarity and empowerment happening (you’ll definitely want to commit Chaon Cross’s harangue against unwanted attention to memory so you can use it against the next unfortunate soul who dares street harass you).

3. Queer representation.

Philip R. Smith and Penelope Walker, photo credit Lookingglass Theatre
Philip R. Smith and Penelope Walker, photo credit Liz Lauren

Penelope Walker wears a “Pandas Against the Patriarchy” t-shirt, plays with sock puppets, and is loudly and unquestionably queer, and no one even thinks twice about it because it’s 2016 and why would they?

4.  It’s gorgeous.

set of Life Sucks, photo credit Liz Lauren
set of Life Sucks, photo credit Liz Lauren

The design is so beautiful we can’t even. (And you can thank Mieka Van der Ploeg for the costumes). Pro tip: Don’t step in the mud.

5. It’s funny.

Jim Ortlieb and Chaon Cross, photo credit Liz Lauren
Jim Ortlieb and Chaon Cross, photo credit Liz Lauren

Yes, they’re in constant existential crisis, and yes, it’s hilarious. We don’t even remember what was going on here we were laughing so hard.

6. We melted just a little bit.

Eddie Jemison, photo credit Lookingglass Theatre
Eddie Jemison, photo credit Liz Lauren

For the quiet tragedy that Chekhov often is, this remake is actually surprisingly heartwarming. (And we’re just a bunch of softies.)

7. They’re not wrong.

Eddie Jemison, Barbara E. Robertson, Jim Ortlieb, and Chaon Cross, photo credit Liz Lauren
Eddie Jemison, Barbara E. Robertson, Jim Ortlieb, and Chaon Cross, photo credit Liz Lauren

Life does suck sometimes, and it’s okay because it’s that way for everyone. But also it’s nice a lot of the time. (Especially when we go to the theater.)

Get tickets to Life Sucks at Lookingglass Theatre here.