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Life Sucks


Life staggers, life confounds, life is beautiful, and life sucks! Aaron Posner’s quirky adaptation of Uncle Vanya, a timeless classic by Anton Chekhov, is a thoroughly hilarious production. Characters address the audience directly and absurdism is common throughout this free-form and highly self-aware play. With all of its entrancing wackiness, Life Sucks evokes the essence of a typical Chekhovian atmosphere.

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why watch life sucks

Aaron Posner’s reimagining of Uncle Vanya comes with free-form, contemporary and overlapping dialogues, couple of upbeat characters, and interactions with the audience. Life Sucks is a wholly self aware production where characters break the fourth wall to involve the viewers in their juicy Chekhovian world. There are plenty of laughs throughout the production, but Life Sucks is primarily about love and longing. Life is often filled with feelings of boredom and despair and we often forget to pin-point the origin of these feelings. This play might just put you on the path to self-discovery by pointing out the ridiculousness of the views we hold - of ourselves, our relationships, and our desires.

Director Jeff Wise has trained the seven actors in the play to a style that flows seamlessly between a larger-than-life awareness of the play’s outsized stakes and a smaller, more personal connection to the play’s human relationships and emotions. Life Sucks uses Chekhov’s foundation to explore ways our interpersonal dynamics haven’t changed since the 19th century.

The Story

Sonia has inherited the family estate from her deceased mother. She lives there with her Uncle Vanya. Also around the house are Pickles, a perceptive, gentle soul who cannot move on from her first and only love, and Babs, Vanya’s mother who drinks a touch too much and is always away on trips. Vanya and his niece Sonia support everyone living in the estate along with Sonia’s father, the Professor. The Professor lives with his much younger, intelligent, and gorgeous former student-turned wife, Ella, in the city. For some reason, he decides to pay his estranged daughter an unexpected visit. Also, living around the estate’s premises is Vanya’s childhood best friend, Dr. Aster, who unlike others quite enjoys his profession and has an obsessive interest in medicine and the world.

Both Vanya and Dr. Aster have the hots for Ella, who also has eyes for Dr. Aster. Sonia, on the other hand, is madly in love with the Doctor. The professor still adores Ella but has become too pedagogic to keep her interest. What then follows through the course of days and stolen kisses is the fact that life does suck sometimes.

The very nature of the play raises questions in the minds of the viewer, but they more or less figure it all out because there is no wall between the performance and the viewing audience. Characters relate their problems, desires, and plans, and often ask for the audience’s advice and opinions.

Good for

Chekhov Aficionados | Fans of Word Play

Critics Reviews

"A bighearted, thoroughly delightful comedy!" - The New Yorker

"LIFE SUCKS doesn’t suck in the slightest!" - Front Row Center

know before you go

Show Details

Show Timings

Monday No Show
Tuesday 7 PM
Wednesday & Saturday 2 PM, 8 PM
Thursday & Friday 8 PM
Sunday 3 PM

2 hours and 10 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission

Leading Roles
Kevin Isola as Vanya
Nadia Bowers as Ella
Austin Pendleton as The Professor
Michael Schantz as Dr. Aster
Kimberly Chatterjee as Sonia
Stacey Linnartz as Pickles
Barbara Kingsley as Babs

Written By
Aaron Posner

Directed By
Jeff Wise

Additional Information

Life Sucks includes adult language and situations and is recommended for 13 years and above. Children under the age of 5 will not be permitted in the theatre.

The Acorn Theatre Row has a seating capacity of 199.

Dress Code
There is no specific dress code for Life Sucks. Formal attire is not required.

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Your e-tickets can be exchanged for physical tickets with our uniformed Headout hosts outside the theater.

Getting There

  • These Subway lines stop near Theatre Row Studios: 2, 7X, A.
  • These Train lines stop near Theatre Row Studios: BABYLON, FAR ROCKAWAY, NC.
  • These Bus lines stop near Theatre Row Studios: 163, M34A-SBS, M42.


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