All Our Happy Days Are Stupid OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    February 19, 2015
    Closing:
    February 28, 2015

    Theater: The Kitchen / 512 W 19th St, New York, NY, 10011

    Synopsis: 

    New York Times bestselling novelist Sheila Heti’s debut play, All Our Happy Days Are Stupid, was first commissioned in 2001 but, until last year, was never produced. The writing of it, and its long history outside the public eye, became the backdrop of Heti’s novel, How Should a Person Be?, which follows the personal and professional travails of a young woman named Sheila as she struggles to write a play. Written by Sheila Heti, directed by Jordan Tannahill with Erin Brubacher and music by Dan Bejar (New Pornographers, Destroyer).

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF All Our Happy Days Are Stupid

    In Sheila Heti’s New Play, Canadians Lose Themselves in Paris

    Ben Brantley

    February 20, 2015: How should a person inhabit a perfectly elegant, black-and-white cartoon panel? That’s the issue faced by the cast of All Our Happy Days Are Stupid, the play in pursuit of a style by Sheila Heti, best known for the identity-pursuing novel How Should a Person Be? It is an issue that’s never resolved. For this meandering tale of unworldly Canadians on vacation in Paris, which opened on Thursday night at the Kitchen, a marvelous, fanciful set has been devised by Rae Powell. Everything onstage — which includes the Eiffel Tower, sidewalk cafes, hotel rooms, jam jars and cigarettes — has been rendered as black-and-white cutouts that suggest a particularly chic graphic novel. The performers have been costumed (by Juliann Wilding) to match, right down to their fingernail polish. And when a man dressed as a bear shows up, of course it’s as a panda, so he doesn’t upset the color scheme. The overall effect is of witty and severe whimsy, without a disruptive pastel or primary shade in sight. I am sad to report that the production, directed by Jordan Tannahill with Erin Brubacher, does not live up to the décor.

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