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Steppenwolf's Traffic Presents David Sedaris

Contemporary satirist brings his unique humor to Steppenwolf's Traffic series in January, for one week only For the last decade, pop culture consciousness has buzzed with the name of an enigmatic chronicler of modern life — David Sedaris — a writer who takes real life and displays it in an almost surreal way. While writing, he has spent time in a nudist colony, worked as a Christmas elf at Macy's, cleaned houses in New York City, and now lives and writes in France. Though he hates the term "expatriate writer," he enjoys living abroad for the anonymity it provides. Rich in both humor and sarcasm, his writing seems to spring from these intriguing life experiences, but as seen through his very particular set of eyes. His distinct voice and unique writing style has captured the attention, and the heart, of readers and listeners around the world. Sedaris' skill in writing about everyday events is to take the reader from side–splitting, hilarity to sober realization of how the dysfunctions within our family units mirror those we have with the world at large, in the space of one sentence. His most recent book, Me Talk Pretty One Day, is a collection of autobiographical stories that focus on his family. Naked is about the time Sedaris spent in a nudist colony, while Holidays on Ice takes on the holiday season and all its horrors, and includes "The SantaLand Diaries," in which he details his days as the Macy's Christmas Elf. In all of his books, Sedaris makes us laugh out loud, regardless of whether we are alone or in public. One of the most endearing aspects of this cynic with a sense of humor is his empathy with and steady encouragement of other writers. Sedaris says that "it doesn't really matter what your life was like, you can write about anything. It's just the writing of it that is the challenge." The idea that one's life needs to be remarkable in order to be notable or worthy of being written down does not sit well with him. He describes his own world view as "like most people, I've constructed an elaborate house of cards based on the concept that I control the world around me . . . What religious people call fate, I call luck, and what they call God's will, I call bad luck." Sedaris has become quite prolific. In addition to his books Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, Holidays on Ice and Barrel Fever, his short stories have appeared in Esquire and The New Yorker, among others. He writes plays with his sister, Amy Sedaris, an actress and writer, calling themselves The Talent Family. He is also a regular contributor to National Public Radio's This American Life. Yet his writing continues to have an outsider aspect to it. When he was interviewed for the publication of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Sedaris said he didn't expect the book to do very well. "Every bad review was written in my head and then I wrote it in my diary. Scathing, horrible reviews of the book." And yet he has been placed in the ranks of Mark Twain and James Thurber for being at once funny and wise. Perhaps it is this paradoxical combination of self–assuredness and insecurity that makes Sedaris such an original and welcome storytelling voice. As David Sedaris takes a flashlight and shines it directly on his flaws, he makes us realize that in order to live a healthy life, we need to keep laughing. He reveals that we can learn from our experiences no matter what they are, or how silly they may seem. And in doing so, he teaches us the value in laughing at our own lives, in order to make sense of it all. Committed to the principle of ensemble performance through the collaboration of a company of actors, directors and designers, Steppenwolf Theater Company's mission is to advance the vitality and diversity of American theater by nurturing artists, encouraging repeatable creative relationships, and contributing new works to the national canon. The company, formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, is dedicated to perpetuating an ethic of mutual respect and the development of artists through on–going group work. Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of thirty–four artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking, and textual adaptation.