How To Live On Earth


New Work
Writers: M.J. Kaufman


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Contemporary, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
present (2010s), missouri, ohio, midwest
Cast Size
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, young adult, mature adult characters


The dream of space exploration, the thrill of interplanetary travel, and the honor of being among the first to settle another world…. these goals draw thousands of applicants to the controversial Mars One program. In the American Midwest, four people respond to the call for adventure: upbeat software engineer Omar, whose desire to leave the planet deeply hurts his loving partner; awkward Aggie, a college dropout, who feels like she doesn’t belong on earth; discontented librarian Eleanor, who wants to use her aptitude for organization in the service of a higher purpose; and Bill, an extreme sports enthusiast and Doctor Without Borders, whose qualifications are as impressive as his interpersonal skills are poor. As they move improbably upwards in the selection process, each of these people must grapple with grieving, angry family members, budding romances, and their own fears: of leaving, or of staying. Ultimately, only one of the four will discover the cold, dark reality of space, and the others will have to learn How To Live on Earth. This sweetly humorous and deeply poignant drama by MJ Kaufman confronts the push and pull of human longing, relationships both strong and tenuous, and the outward reaches of the imagination.

Note: For licensing and other inquiry, please contact the playwright, M.J. Kaufman:

Lead Characters

How To Live On Earth guide sections