Afterlight, the new play by Monica Flory, might as well have been titled Afterlife. It’s a vague, mysterious meandering into the lives of seven townsfolk somewhere in the Northeast set at twilight dealing with the aftermath of the death by accident of a Mr. Paterson in a school bus. Twilight would have been a better title but that brings forth visions of vampires now and so we have to settle with Afterlight and albino Monarch butterflies. Settle indeed.
The lighting designer (Bobby Bradley) took the title literally and for most of the play the stage is dim to dark to barely visible except for the large inner lit funnel of light which is as odd as the intrusive and unintentionally giggle producing music (Kimberly Fuhr) that underscores this underdeveloped and murky piece.
I think that Ms. Flory would have us take note that in any moment of our lives tragedy can strike and that we should live for the moment, love one another and be ready when the hammer of death strikes a beloved one down.
We have an old married couple who do not seem to have gotten along well for most of their marriage – Michael (Angus Hepburn) hears things under the floorboards and Louise (Kim Carlson) is simply bored and angry. The reason for their discord is brought forth late in this one act play of 80 minutes.
There is a pregnant Ann (Kimberly Prentice) , who has a blue collar boyfriend Hess (Frank Mihelich) who refuses to adopt her other child Shane (Tyler Merna) from a previous marriage who has witnessed the accident, sees the aforementioned albino Monarch butterflies everywhere and adamantly wants to attend the funeral – while his mom is beset with pregnancy problems. The teens Pru (Allyson Morgan) and Hunter (Davi Santos) meet secretly in a cemetery where they come upon a wolf – Could it be Pru’s deceased dad or Mr. Peterson?
With names like these it could it be a morality play of sorts? There is much confusing symbolism to the otherwise simple story which just gets in the way of everything.
The acting is uniformly good. But to no avail. The script leaves us wondering mostly about the life span of the butterfly and what that funnel of light is all about. Director, Misti B. Eills does little to clarify. Cherry Lane Theatre.
Presented by Threads Theater Company. www.threadstheatercompany.org
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