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Stefania Indelicato

The Havana Theatre stage is simply set with a bed, its red sheets and pillows hinting at passion, possibly sex. The house lights go down and when the stage lights rise, the sheets are strewn with a woman lying on the bed. From her position, body language, and sighs, it’s apparent that the act of sex has occurred.

The time after sex, the time which depending on your relationship status and personality (even gender) can have different levels of importance and significance. The time where although a person has been physically exposed, emotional barriers can still remain: this is the after that forms the subject and title of this 75-minute play.

Stefania Indelicato, Al Miro
[Stefania Indelicato, Al Miro]

A co-production between dream of passion productions (Stefania Indelicato) and directed by Excavation Theatre’s Jessica Anne Nelson, After is written by Martha Herrera-Laso, and explores post-coital moments with four people: two men and two women. While similar in age and social background, all four have different expectations.

Sandra wants to love and be in a monogamous relationship. James wants to be free, to experience whatever comes his way. Jackie overanalyzes and is really not sure what she wants and worry-free Daniel just wants to take things at face value. 

At the heart of the play lies the difference between men and women: a woman’s need to express emotion while at the same time being frustrated with the ease at which men can separate the physical from the mental.

The two female characters continually try to get their male partners to understand their emotional needs and the two male characters (while admirably attempting to listen) just don’t get it. 

The play is well executed with all actors skillfully handling their character’s personality traits. Al Miro as James adds some well-timed humour. Matthew McLellan as Daniel is subtle and realistic, portraying anger, compassion, and indifference.

Matthew McLellan, Jane Hancock
[Matthew McLellan, Jane Hancock]

Jane Hannock as Jackie is a believable, manipulative, double talker; Stefania Indelicato as Sandra successfully expresses the frustration of loving the wrong person. The dialogue at times seemed a bit theatrical and not culturally authentic, which could have made the characters more timely.

On a positive note, conversations were clear and concise, something often lacking in today’s theatre. The actors are in various stages of undress throughout the play and the exposure of skin is realistic without being sensational and distracting from Herrera-Laso’s story. The actors are also responsible for changing props between scenes in the semi darkness and do so with a kinetic energy that spills over to the scenes.

After artfully demonstrates the dichotomy between physical and emotional relationships of men and women and continues through March 29 and then from Apr 1 to 5 at Havana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver.

Photos by Andy Scheffler.

About Our Contributor MJ Ankenman

MJ Ankenman

MJ moved to Vancouver in 2005 and has been keeping busy ever since, enjoying all that the West coast has to offer, sharing discoveries through her writing and photography. MJ’s interests include yoga, biking, hiking, and enjoying BC wine. Follow MJ on Twitter @urbanista.

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