Our Events


Sehnsucht, a New Play by Sarah Blush

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 6:30 PM
| Open to the Public | Members' Room | $25 per person | Advance registration required

The implicit message of “Make America Great Again” and paleo dieting is the same: we used to know how to live right, and things would be better if we lived that way again. Sehnsucht is a play about our preoccupation with the past and the impact of propping it up.

The play begins with a group of siblings wistfully reminiscing about when they were cavemen. We learn that this is just one of the attractions inside an audacious resort, a literal relic of a bygone era profiting from its recipients’ desire to escape the present and take refuge in some elusive past. The play then visits an imagined empire with no recorded history (inspired by the 19th-century Chinese Dowager Empress Cixi) and Sigmund Freud’s huge collection of historical artifacts.

The title is an untranslatable German word expressing the nostalgia we can feel for a time or place we never actually experienced. Knowing how we’re “supposed” to live supposedly offers clues for how to feel better, happier, more satisfied—contemporary society’s constant refrain. As modern life increases in rapidity and technology, there’s a longing to understand what behavior, if any, is essentially human. We peer into history, trying to figure out when we were most ourselves. Sehnsucht questions to what extent this longing can be comforting, paralyzing, and even sinister.

Sehnsucht is conceived and directed by Sarah Blush in collaboration with Brian Bock, Georgia King, and Michael Norton and produced by Rachel Christiansen . It will be presented as a full-cast reading, with an audience talkback following.

Sarah Blush is a New York-based director and writer. Her original work includes Power Couple (Ars Nova ANT Fest), My Favorite Character Was the Talking Vase (HERE), and Still Life With Apples (Dixon Place). As a director, she has worked with playwrights such as Adam Bock, Cátia Cunha, Bekah Brunstetter, Carol Brown, and Yasmeen Imam Bashir at venues including FringeNYC, Yale Rep, The Flea, and HERE. Ms. Blush is a Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship Semifinalist, a New Georges Affiliated Artist, and a member of The Habitat’s Directors Playground. B.F.A. NYU (Experimental Theatre Wing; Playwrights Horizons Theater School).

To register, contact the Events Office at 212.288.6900 x230 or events@nysoclib.org (for everyone), or click below and log in (for Library members).

This event is generously underwritten by Alexander Sanger in honor of Jeannette Watson Sanger.