Life Sucks.

March 28 - April 14, 2019

Wisconsin Premiere

Directed by Jennifer Uphoff Gray


In this bold and funny reworking of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, a group of old friends, ex-lovers, estranged in-laws, and lifelong enemies lurches between love and lust, laughter and longing, and the many ways in which life does, and doesn't ... suck.

Both brash and warm-hearted, Madison native Aaron Posner's romp of a play reminds its seven hapless characters—and us—that to feel deeply is the price of a life well-lived.


Bill Bolz (Vanya), Reese Madigan (Dr. Aster), Brian Mani (Professor), Marcella Kearns (Pickles), Sarah Day (Babs), Elyse Edelman (Sonia), Rana Roman (Ella)


Scenic Designer: Mike Lawler
Lighting Designer: Noele Stollmack
Costume Designer: Ren LaDassor
Sound Designer/Composer: Joe Cerqua
Props Designer: Pam Miles
Stage Manager: Sarah Deming-Henes
Asst. Stage Manager: Enya Nett


Listen to the preshow and intermission playlist for Life Sucks: Listen on Spotify

Check out the "Life is" audience response list, courtesy of cast member Sarah Day: LIFE IS

Behind the scenes with the cast of Life Sucks.

'Life Sucks.' playwright has Wisconsin connections - Gayle Worland, The Wisconsin State Journal

Aaron Posner wrote a play called 'Life Sucks.' He disagrees. - Lindsay Christians, The Cap Times

For the love of Chekhov - Michael Muckian, Isthmus

‘Life Sucks,’ but Updating Chekhov Doesn’t - Stephanie Harte, Footlights


"Forward Theater’s excellent production of Life Sucks is a funny, contemplative, tragic, ridiculous and insightful take on the sad-sack antihero Uncle Vanya (William Bolz) and his loosely related family group...These characters — with their desires, flaws, blind spots and small comforts — are people you should meet." - Gwendolyn Rice, Isthmus
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"Posner has made a practice of taking classic literature, in this case the 1899 play Uncle Vanya, by Anton Chekhov, and pulling out threads of character, situation and matters of the heart. What he’s able to mold out of these true things feels both fresh and timeless — timeless on an emotional level and a practical one..." - Lindsay Christians, The Cap Times
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"What I truly enjoyed about this play was the absolute honesty and familiarity of it, even as the characters and their reactions are exaggerations of the norm, which is the key to the comedy of it...Make a day of it and spend some time in the Capitol Square with a good friend, as I did, and I guarantee that you won't think life sucks at all." - Mary Boyle, Ozaukee Living Local
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Sponsored by: Foley & Lardner LLP, Isthmus