Directors' Choice Award Winner
Welcome To The Hard Luck Club
by Karin Ringheim
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The story of a friendship between two women intertwines with those of the colorful staff and patrons of the Hard Luck Café, owned by recovering alcoholics, Joe and Mimi. The Café, known for its friendly atmosphere and all-day breakfasts, provides employment and an opportunity for those recently out of rehab to reintegrate. Together Joe and Mimi have helped many lost souls get back on their feet. The Cafe is a favorite breakfast place for Anne, a therapist, and her lifelong friend Cynthia, a divorced mother on a downward spiral and estranged from her teenaged daughter, Katie. After Cynthia bottoms out, the Hard Luck Café welcomes her as a fragile new recruit aiming to get her life back on track. The staff of the Hard Luck, - the charmingly naïve Dan, the street-wise Hazel, and the frustrated Alexis, - support one another and shore up their patrons in recovery, even as they seek to restore love and connection to their own fractured lives. Patrons, including Greg, grieving for his partner, Tom, Alexis’s commitment-phobic boyfriend, Marcus, and the drying drunk Richard, hang out in the Café as they used to hang in bars, knowing that at the Hard Luck Café they will find support for the struggle, or, if need be, a figurative swift slap upside the head. Through shared experiences, friendship and the Cafe’s own “griddle” therapy, Cindy and her coworkers find community, learn to overcome regret and live day by day, even as they must gather to grieve the loss of their friend Greg. In an epilogue, colleagues gather to celebrate Cindy’s long delayed graduation from college. Katie reemerges, cautiously acknowledging her mother’s transformation.
Time: Present time, over the course of a year.
Setting: Unidentified urban area.
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