You are here:Home/Shows/Plays/We Live On based on Hard Times by Studs Terkel
WE LIVE ON
Based on HARD TIMES by STUDS TERKEL
With additional text by Tim Robbins and The Cast
Live Virtual Production
Directed by TIM ROBBINS
Music Director – David Robbins
Music performed by Cameron Dye
The Actors’ Gang strives to make its content accessible to all patrons. Admission is Pay What You Can but we are extending free tickets to patrons who can’t afford to make a donation. For additional information or if you have questions, need assistance, or access to free tickets, please email us at BoxOffice@TheActorsGang.com.
Cars waiting in long lines for food. People being evicted and their possessions being repossessed. Tent cities of the homeless and destitute rising up in places they had not been before. New immigrants being attacked and marginalized and blamed for society’s ills.
In 1970, Studs Terkel interviewed businessmen, auto workers, farmers, hobos, striptease artists, repo men, seamstresses, and labor leaders and asked them what it was like to live through the Great Depression. Their words of survival have a direct link to the challenges we face today.
About a year ago, on Hard Times’ 50th anniversary, faced with the inability to assemble in our theater, The Actors’ Gang started working via zoom to adapt Terkel’s Hard Times. The production explores 30 different stories – a mix of stories documented by Terkel and original stories from the family histories of cast members – of courage and determination, a testimony of what it takes to survive unprecedented times, which are now presented over three different performances.
“We started developing We Live On in April of 2020 and it started with a question: How do we, as artists, address the fear of this time, the loss, the desperation, the lines at food banks, the poverty? We weren’t interested in distraction, or avoidance of this historic time we were living through. We wanted material that was challenging and addressed the difficulties of living in desperate times. At the same time, it was essential to tell the stories of survivors, knowing that the courage and resilience of those that made it through the Great Depression could provide inspiration and hope for our audiences today. I was lucky enough to meet Studs Terkel and interview him for LACMA before he passed. Studs was such an important documentarian of the human condition, of what it takes to survive through hardship. He has always been a hero of mine, a journalist that gave voice to the anonymous, the forgotten. These voices from Hard Times that Studs has left us, remain resonant and essential today, perhaps more so than when they were chronicled back in 1970, a reminder of the tenacity, faith and love it will take for us to rebound from the trauma, unprecedented isolation, and loss of loved ones that we have recently lived through. As actors, I think it’s important to find this kind of material to wrestle with.I’m blessed to have a company of actors that understand not only the importance of getting to the truth of difficult subject matter but also, in this challenging time of being apart, getting to that truth in community with each other. It is our hope to create that community throughout the world with our audiences in an intimate, personal and immediate way. We Live On is a piece born from loss and the limitations of lock down that seeks to create healing and catharsis and hope for a shook up world.” – Tim Robbins
Louis Banks – Jeronimo Spinx
Dynamite Garland – Guebri VanOver
Harry O’Donnell – Mary Eileen O’Donnell(her father)
Martin DeVries – Josh Latzer
Anonymous – Stephanie G. Galindo
Ruth Gray Ratner – Hannah Hartman(her family friend)
*Tickets for this production are Pay What You Can but we know these are hard times and if you can’t spare a dime, they are free! Just email us at BoxOffice@TheActorsGang.com and we’ll make sure you get a ticket!
Event times in other locations for 7 pm (PT) performances: