What is THE HAPPY GARDEN OF LIFE and why now?
How do we as artists respond to the times we live in? What is our ethical and political responsibility, not just as citizens but as creators?
We had these questions in mind when setting out to create the new theatre show The Happy Garden of Life. The inspiration behind this piece was a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, written in 1962, about population control. Although decades have passed since the story's publication, Vonnegut's work continues to have a scary relevance in contemporary society. Our hope with this piece is to facilitate conversation around our own societal roles, the ways in which we are complicit in systems that oppress others, and how we retain humanity in a time of increasing ideological polarization.
With your help, this new play will have its world premiere at the New Ohio Theatre in West Village in New York from October 18-27, 2019.
For questions about tickets to the show, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
** Starting September 27, the next 50 patrons who donate $25 or more will get a coffee card from Maman NYC **
Imagine a world where death and old age are nearly defeated. A spacious, peaceful place where you want for nothing and no one is ever in a hurry. The skies are clear, the water is clean, and all roads lead to perfection.
Set in a near-future utopia enforced by population control, The Happy Garden of Life follows the lives of various citizens caught up in a system of government-encouraged suicide. Through multiple storylines that converge in a hospital waiting room where a woman is about to give birth to triplets, The Happy Garden of Life considers how one person's worth can be qualified over another's — Would you like to live in such a world?
Jenna Hoffmann (NYU Directing) and Anna Jastrzembski (Columbia University Playwriting '19) have been developingThe Happy Garden of Life over the last two years. The initial idea — to adapt a short story by Kurt Vonnegut for the stage — has since evolved into a full-length, politically engaged work of experimental theater. We put up an early version of the play (A Modest Proposal), at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre in January 2019, which ran for a three-night, sold-out run. Since then we have continued to develop and expand the piece into a full-length play, and are excited to embark on its next chapter.
The Happy Garden of Life is a fusion of playwriting and physical theater that boldly asks us to consider the limitations of human ingenuity and how we are to contend with a rapidly changing world.
We are lucky to have a brilliant team of collaborators behind this production who are as follows —
Creative Team: Jenna Hoffmann, Director; Anna Jastrzembski, Playwright; Emily Erickson, Composer/Music Director; Matthew Imhoff, Scenic Designer; Christina Tang, Lighting Designer; Jacob K. Robinson, Sound Designer; Halla Tryggvadottir, Producer; Yannik Encarnação, Assistant Director; Cara Cincione, Production Stage Manager; Cara Kienitz, Substitute Stage Manager.
Cast: Briana Archer, Elizabeth Chappel, Nicolette Ellis, Heather Holmes, Lizzy Jarrett, Thomas Morris, Erin Noll, Uma Paranjpe, Joe Rivera, and Brian Sanchez
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Risks and challenges
We are almost there! We have spent two years developing the play, putting together a devoted team of creative minds, writing, designing, rehearsing, and finding the right performance space. The play asks big questions about our planet and society, and we believe we are making an important piece.
Your support will go directly to paying our cast and creative team for the countless hours of work that they put into this production. Additionally, you will be supporting The New Ohio theatre, a venerable Off-Off-Broadway institution that has given home to many ambitious artists and challenging new work over the years. We are making an essential piece of work that we hope will spur discussion around the political, environmental, and philosophical challenges we face as we move towards an uncertain future, and your support will be giving us the gift of time and space to create.
With endless gratitude,
The entire team behind The Happy Garden of Life