Susan Cain’s “Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole” has been optioned for the stage by Bated Breath Theatre Company. The author will help adapt her bestselling book, which weaves together poignant stories of loss and resilience, as well as Cain’s personal experience. It also touches on art, literature, religion and science to explain why longing and loss can be so deeply profound and transformational.
Mara Lieberman, the executive director of Bated Breath Theatre Company, will write the adaptation in collaboration with Cain, and direct and produce it. The new production will be produced by Bated Breath and RRR Productions, which was founded by Ryan Ratelle.
“When Mara reached out to me I was thrilled that ‘Bittersweet’ impacted a theatre maker so much, and now I can’t wait to see the stories touch the hearts of theatre audiences — through the magic of the stage,” said Cain.
“Reading ‘Bittersweet’ was a visceral experience, and I can’t think of a more visceral medium than the theater. It just felt right in this ever-changing pandemic landscape to theatricalize some of the breathtaking stories in ‘Bittersweet’ that remind us that our losses can be a doorway to our resilience,” said Lieberman.
“Theater is the most powerful way of voicing and expressing ideas that bring people together and force us to think and to cope. Susan Cain’s exploration of how the bittersweet state of mind helps us transcend our personal and collective pain is a natural for the stage – especially at this moment in time,” said Ratelle.
Cain’s “Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole” topped the New York Times bestsellers list and was Oprah’s first Book Club selection of 2023. “Bittersweet: The Play” will follow one mother’s journey to attempt the impossible after the tragic loss of her child. With a promise from the Buddha that he can resurrect her daughter if she can procure a mustard seed from a house not touched by grief, she sets out on her journey to return to the perfect world of her past by visiting the doorsteps of the future. On the other side of time, she meets musician Leonard Cohen, writer Maya Angelou, scientist Charles Darwin and others who transformed their incapacitating grief into offerings that forever changed the course of history.
How far would you go to return to the perfect and beautiful world before your heart was broken?
Bated Breath Theatre Company is best known for its award-winning, immersive, pandemic-friendly walking tour productions “Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-Lautrec” and “Chasing Andy Warhol.”
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