Life Is a Itch and Then You Scratch, Harrison Street Cooperative of Performing & Fine Arts. Written, directed, produced, and performed by L.C. Satterfield, this one-man show suffers from all the problems usually associated with vanity productions: no one’s there to clean up the direction, writing, or acting. In the highly fragmented but promising story, a man’s life goes from bad to worse when he moves to Chicago from Winston, Alabama. But the script desperately needs work. Some scenes run way too long, especially one in which Satterfield’s protagonist–a would-be poet and actor, Lattimore, reduced to a career as a party clown–reveals how humiliating it is to try to get laughs when he’s sad. But most are too short to really tell us who Lattimore is or why we should care.

Satterfield, clearly an actor with talent, does not display it to full advantage here. When he turns on the juice he’s a first-rate ham, ranting and tearing around the stage. But more often that not he underplays the material, delivering too little information to keep the drama going. In fact, the night I saw the show the most dramatic moment came when a kid in the audience fell asleep and tumbled out of his chair. The same might easily have happened to me.