Cutting-edge Catastrophic Theatre Artistic Director Jason Nodler created the play Life Is Happy and Sad as a prequel to his 2006 cult musical from Infernal Bridegroom Productions, Speeding Motorcycle. The play is based on the music and life of Daniel Johnston, Austin's only manic-depressive musician ever to inspire an iPhone video game. "One play wasn't enough," Nodler has said. "Daniel is so prolific, and his body of work so remarkable, I feel like I could make ten of these things." Nodler takes us on a swirling journey through Johnston's early years, using his idiosyncratic songs as text, and his abiding friendship with David Thornberry as subject. Matt Brownlie, local front man for bands Bring Back the Guns and Groceries, plays young Daniel. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Through December 19. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For information, call 713-522-2723 or visit www.catastrophictheatre.com. Pay-what-you-want.