Cover artwork: Kurt Firla Design & Animation

Laugh It Up, Stare It Down

Alan Hruska

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LAUGH IT UP, STARE IT DOWN is a comedy about Cleo and Joe: how they meet, fall in love, and ardently search for a meaningful point in a universe too random to have one. It’s a journey marked by curious events, such as a misplaced baby, a fake painting, a home invasion, a sexual indiscretion, and a tidal wave. Can ecstatic love weather the vicissitudes of life, let alone any quest for its meaning?

Production Info

Cast: 4 total (2 female, 2 male)
Full Length Drama (about 110 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“If an existentialist philosopher attempted a light romantic comedy, it would sound a little like LAUGH IT UP, STARE IT DOWN…” —The New York Times

“Engaging, entertaining, and existentially satisfying and well worth the visit to the iconic Cherry Lane Theatre.” —CEO Express

“…Those aware of theatre’s ability to act as a mirror will not only be entertained, but will also be left empowered.” —Stage Buddy

“Part absurdist comedy, part a musing on fate.” —Huffington Post, Stage Door

“LAUGH IT UP, STARE IT DOWN rests squarely in the modern absurdist tradition…” —TheaterMania

About the Author


  • Alan Hruska

    Alan Hruska was the author of several plays, including LAUGH IT UP, STARE IT DOWN (The Cherry Lane Theatre, 2015), THE MAN ON HER MIND (Charing Cross Theatre, London, 2013) and NEW HOUSE UNDER CONSTRUCTION (59E59), New York, 2008–09, which he also directed. He was a filmmaker who wrote and directed or co-directed four films: Nola (2003), The Warrior Class (2006), Reunion (2009), and The Man on Her Mind (2014). As a novelist, his books included Borrowed Time (Doubleday 1985), Wrong Man Running (Severn House and Thomas & Mercer 2011), and Pardon the Ravens (Prospect Park Books 2015). In 2005 he made his New York debut as a stage director with an acclaimed production of WAITING FOR GODOT at Theatre at St. Clements. Among his other professional accomplishments, Hruska was for many years a successful trial lawyer and partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and was a co-founder of the New York book publishing company Soho Press. Hruska was a director of the Lark Play Development Center in New York and a member of the Actors Studio, Playwrights and Directors Unit. He passed away in 2022 at the age of 88.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 1/27/2016
Pages 90
ISBN 9780881456547

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre
by Red Horse Productions and RME Theatrical Group, Executive Producers

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Laugh It Up, Stare It Down is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC