Fairfield faculty theater group presents Life Sucks, a modern adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Sept. 20-23.
The conundrums with which the play’s characters are trying to cope mirror the conundrums of the faculty, staff, and students of Fairfield University.
— Dr. Dennis Keenan, professor of philosophy
The Academy Players of Fairfield University return to the stage to present four smart and satirical performances of Life Sucks, Aaron Posner’s brash and revelatory adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, September 20-23, at 8 p.m. in Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts’ Wien Experimental Theater.
The amateur production, which is performed, produced, and directed by Fairfield University faculty and staff, is free for students and $20 for the public. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 203-254-4010, 1-877-ARTS-396 (toll free) or online at quickcenter.com.
In this cheeky and playful reworking of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, a group of old friends, ex-lovers, and estranged family gather over a weekend to grapple with life’s thorniest questions - and each other. Incurably lustful and lonely, hapless and hopeful, these seven souls collide and stumble their way towards a new understanding that Life Sucks…or does it?
“What Posner has done, I think, is rewrite Uncle Vanya as though it were being improvised by our contemporaries,” said Alistair Highet, the play’s director and senior director for the University’s external communications and public relations. “Do we still have the same longings, the same frustrations, the same hopes and dreams that were so familiar to Chekhov? I think the play suggests that we do, but it also asks, ‘Can we speak as openly, and with such heartfelt sincerity today as we once did?’”
As with the Academy Players’ previous performances, the company is composed of Fairfield faculty and staff who volunteer their time to produce an annual theater production that brings together as many schools, departments, faculty and courses as possible to examine a dimension of their studies through the performing arts. Each performance is followed by a different faculty-led discussion addressing one or more of these themes and highlighting the central importance of Humanities at the University.
“The conundrums with which the play’s characters are trying to cope mirror the conundrums of the faculty, staff, and students of Fairfield University,” said co-producer and professor of philosophy, Dennis Keenan, PhD. “This play, among other things, explores the enduring questions of the Residential Colleges Program at Fairfield University, which are, ‘Who am I? Whose am I? Who am I called to be?’”
In addition to Dr. Keenan, this year’s cast features Vice Provost Don Gibson, PhD; Sonya Huber, MFA, associate professor of English; Jerelyn Johnson, PhD, the play’s co-producer and associate professor of modern languages and literatures; Pamela Kelly, assistant dean and office manager for the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions; Mark Ligas, PhD, interim dean of the Dolan School of Business; Andrea Martinez, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and David Schmidt, PhD, associate professor of business ethics.
The production is sponsored by the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, and the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; with special collaboration from the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts and the support of the Departments of Communication, Economics, English, Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Catholic Studies, Peace and Justice Studies and Russian, East European and Asian Studies.