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This project was made possible in part due to generous grant funding through New York State Council on the Arts, Onondaga County & CNY ARTS. 


The inspiration for this production came during the height of the pandemic when it felt like time itself had other priorities and nothing really mattered. During the dark days of lockdown, the collective solitude shook something in me, tore the metaphoric curtain away to reveal what felt like a new truth. And that truth, at least for me, was the bleak reality of social programming and its overwhelming effect it has had on everything we are and everything we do . I took an anthropological approach to the systems I was struggling with: the structure of marriage and family, the obligation to career and money, patriotism, religion, racism, copyright, credit scores, the addiction to celebrity culture, the dopamine rush of social media... and emblematic of them all: The American Dream. 

Struggling with this quandary, I sought to write a comedy. Woof.  Satire was ideal because it is exaggerative in nature and seeks to expose hidden truths. Taking a page from the book of commedia dell'arte, I used stock characters to represent different parts of our life so that even in their heightened states, we can identify with the characters' struggles. I also explored a particular type of clown known as "Bouffon" where I might uncover new perspectives through mockery. It's all offensive, a bit mad, and big-time-silly. 

Please feel free to laugh at yourself. 

Meet "The Game of Life" Cast & Crew

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Written, Directed by & Starring

Tanner Efinger (he/they)

Tanner is the Artistic Director of Breadcrumbs Productions. He is a theatre maker, arts advocate and community organizer and has worked throughout the US and UK as a performer, director, educator, producer, and writer. Original works includes Come Like Shadows (Performer/Dramaturg), Marie & The Nutcracker Prince (Producer/Performer), Unearthing Mary Bixby (Producer/Performer), The Picture of Oscar Wilde (Writer), 1918 (Writer/Director), A Christmas Carol Retold (Director/Performer), High As Sugar (Writer/Performer), and While They Were Away (Performer). Select performance credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oxford University Press), Hamlet (Boston Theatre Company), The Marriage of Figaro (Boston Lyric Opera), Footloose & Rough Crossing (Cortland Repertory Theater). Select directing credits include The Emperor's New Clothes (Cortland Repertory Theatre), The Trojan Women (Le Moyne College), ...Spelling Bee (Manlius Pebble Hill), and Macbeth (Oxbridge Academic Programs). Tanner and his husband Nick are the owners of Wunderbar, a queer bar and theatre in Syracuse.  His long term goal is to help develop Central New York as a place for artists and queer people to migrate to because of the depth of opportunity. For more information, please visit or

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Production Designer

Andy Hughes

Andy Hughes is excited to present to you the design for The Game of Life. His work branches through many aspects of theatrical design and so he is very excited to be able to flex his creative muscles in so many ways for this production. His previous productions include Covey Theater's Chicago (light design), Chelsea Opera's The Medium and The Parting (light design), and Breadcrumbs' staged reading of Come Like Shadows (set design). Andy hopes that you enjoy the show!

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Jason Ngo

Jason is an actor, dancer and performer from Syracuse, NY. His most recent work is in the world premiere of a new play by Garrett August Heater called Aktion as Antoine Pierre Linh. He also played the role of a villain in a Fish and Crown productions action comedy called Strait Undercover playing the role of Mighty. Jason has also done sound design work for the production of Come Like Shadows, written by Gemma Cooper-Novack, a Breadcrumbs Production. Jason has also performed in drag under the persona of Yuka Liptis, performing for events and drag productions in the past. Focally he is looking to expand his work as an actor, but also has interests in growing as an artist.

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Mary Nickson (they/them)

Mary is honored to be a part of what will likely be their last performance at 201 S. West Street after a decade of productions. Born and raised here in Syracuse, Mary worked professionally in the CNY Theatre scene for several years before earning their BFA in Music Theatre from Elon University and moving to Manhattan in 2018. After a year in NYC, they toured North America with the first national broadway tour of The Spongebob Musical as a Swing covering >12 tracks in the show, pre-COVID. Mary has spent the better part of a decade working as an arts educator and vocal coach, having taught at several accredited universities, including Boston Conservatory, Nazareth College, Heidelberg University, and The Hartt School; they currently work as a co-director for FMHS Drama. Since Spring 2023, Mary has made their rounds as a professional musician here in town, performing at countless events throughout the Summer months, most notably The Westcott Street Cultural Fair. Mary is a passionate, mixed race, queer activist/musician/artist who is very proud to be making art here in Syracuse. Thank you for coming out to see us! /

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Declan Rapp

Declan is absolutely thrilled to be working with Breadcrumbs Productions on this original piece. Declan has broad experience working in theater, with past credits ranging from musical theater performance to lighting design. Recently, his work was seen in BLAAC's production of The Color Purple (Light Design), Breadcrumbs Productions' performances of Come Like Shadows (Producer/Light Designer) and The Game of Life (Producer), and in Le Moyne College’s productions of Godspell (Light Design), I Hate Hamlet (Scenic Design), The Squirrels (Stage Management/Sound Design), and The (One-Act) Play That Goes Wrong (Light Design). Past directorial and performance credits include Dancing to the Rhythm of a Hidden Flame (Writer/Director/Designer), Hand to God (Director), 9 to 5 (Dick/Ensemble), and Bare: A Pop Opera (Priest). Declan currently works as a freelance theater artist in Syracuse, New York, and you can see examples of his previous work on Instagram (@declanrappdesign) and on his website,

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Marketing Director

Alex Dukat (they/them)

Alex Dukat is the owner/operator of Mynerva Consulting. This is the second Breadcrumbs Productions project they have worked on and cannot wait to see what the future holds. Alex works full-time in the non-profit sector as a grants manager and has been published on TWLOHA, Teen Vogue and The Mighty. Alex wanks to thank everyone at Breadcrumbs who makes being part of local theatre so enjoyable and to Tanner for hiring local queer artists in their works. /

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Carmen Crafts

Select theater credits include: Kat in Sundowning (Saltland festival original play), Mrs. White in Clue (CNY Playhouse), Sister in Damn Yankees (Syracuse Summer Theater), Russo in Melegrana (CNYP, SALT award), Belle in Disenchanted, Cordelia in Falsetttos, Annelle in Steel Magnolias, Amy in Company (Rarely Done Productions), Kate Monster in Avenue Q (SALT award), Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime, Adele in A Man of No Importance, Brooke in Noises Off (Redhouse), and Emma Borden in Lizzie Borden Took an Axe (originated role 2010-present, NYC Fringe Fest 2014). Carmen is also an accomplished audio book narrator, sometime cabaret singer, LMSW, and mother to an 11 year old daughter. She is beyond thrilled to be performing for the first time with Breadcrumbs productions! Thanks for supporting live theater and new works.

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Laura Stisser

You may have seen Laura Stisser (A Celebrity) playing the snarky but tortured mother M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias. Other favorite past roles include, Arlene in Next Fall, Rose Gordon in Flowers for Algernon, Grandma in Grimm Cinderella and Kathleen Trafalgar in Panache.  Laura is also a film and commercial actor. You can see her most recently on Hulu in Big Time Adolescence and on Pureflix in 12 Days with God. Laura has to say thank you to her husband Mike and children Shelby and Ben for their continued support in pursuing her dream of acting. Laura is extremely proud to be performing in her fourth Breadcrumbs production and wants to thank Tanner Efinger for his continuing belief and guidance over the years.

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Special Thanks

This show would not be possible without the many volunteers who helped to put everything together

Our Volunteers

Karl Hughes

Lynette Hughes

Tyler Hughes 

Miranda Frascatore

Sharon Porter

Kaitlin Hines

Andrew Zupan

Buzz Bazydlo

Sarah Scromo 

Molly Lenihan

Carmen Crafts

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