Mercury I & II project
Mars on Life
Mars on Life was a project in Mercury I & II (June 2020/November 2020)
written by Susannah Mars
Taking care of your child-prodigy, opera-diva mother and comedic genius movie star father could easily detour a person from finding her voice as a performer and writer in her own right.
Mars on Life, is a multimedia collaged journey in which Susannah Mars returns to, and rewrites herstory in order to find her way. She divines the divine.
Surviving her young childhood and searching to belong, she becomes a child actor in Hollywood, the capital of artistic dream crushing. She skateboards with Kristy McNichol and plays field hockey with Jodie Foster yet becomes disenchanted with the showbiz milieu. Leaving behind life as an actor in Los Angeles, she goes to college and pursues a teaching career and meets her future husband who lives in Oregon.
Could a move to Portland, Oregon, and a marriage to a man who grew up in a family closely resembling the Cleavers, revive her destiny as a performing artist? Could a husband, a new family, children, or a city, heal her and set her path right? Will theatre save her life? Using digital recordings, archival film, music, and special guest Wonder Woman, this project will answer that question.
Susannah’s artistic journey into life with her father began in 2014 with her RACC supported Good Grief, an innovative theatrical project that in collaboration with invited artists, including Laura DiTrapani and Jacklyn Maddux, that embraced the profound experiences of illness, death, and grief in surprising ways. Built on a foundation of stories chronicling the diagnosis and subsequent death of her father, character actor Kenneth Mars, Good Grief was capped off with a music video, The Dog Song by Nellie MacKay, made in collaboration with Laura DiTrapani and funded by RACC (Regional Arts & Culture Council). Upon completion of this workshop she knew there was more, and knew, while this last piece had blossomed from her beloved father’s death, the next step was to examine his life, and their life together.
Mars on Life will go farther, examining Susannah’s life as an independent artist finding her unique voice.