JESSICA ANNE NELSON
Director, Creator, Producer, Intimacy Director
After by Martha Herrera-Lasso
WORLD PREMIER PRODUCTION
“AFTER” – Hilarious, Awkward, and Close to Home
“Herrera-Lasso’s intelligent, funny, and honest script requires performers who identify with their characters, even as they hurt others, hold tight to things they don’t want, hide from their partners and hide from themselves. Luckily for us, under the direction of Excavation Theatre’s Jessica Anne Nelson, the ensemble of four actors (dream of passion’s Stefania Indelicato, Al Miro, Jane Hancock, and Matthew McLellan) deliver tight performances that never miss a beat. Both perfectly natural and perfectly rehearsed, no gesture, line, or inflection is wasted as the performers feed off one another and carry the audience through an incredibly quick (but incredibly satisfying) 80 minutes." -- NiftyNotCool, Lauren Kresowaty
Four people, a man and woman in their 20s and a man and woman in their 30s, each at different stages in their lives, get themselves caught up in complicated and sometimes surprisingly emotional and confusing conversations, all taking place after sex. Struggling to find their paths within and without societal relationship norms and expectations, this is an exploration of love and lust, intimacy and miscommunication, in a modern day society that is overwhelmed by choice.
Sandra: Stefania Indelicato
James: Al Miro
Jackie: Jane Hancock
Daniel: Matthew McLellan
Set Designer: Carolyn Rapanos
Costume Designer: Basha Ladovsky
Sound Designer: Emily Griffiths
Lighting Designer: Mike Irvine
Stage Manager: Tanya Schwaerzle
“AFTER” – Hilarious, Awkward, and Close to Home
"The premise of Martha Herrera-Lasso’s new play, After, is fairly simple: four young people navigate the murky waters of love and lust, all through conversations that take place after sex. While the premise may be simple, the emotional situations explored are anything but, rife with humour, heartbreak, and devastating shades of grey...What strikes me most about After is the characters’ extreme lack of self-awareness, even as they are acutely self-conscious (whether due to insecurity, like the verbally incontinent Jackie, or narcissism, like the incorrigible James). Unhinged by their moments of vulnerability, these four young people fumble towards and away from one another, wanting both the satisfaction of intimacy and the safety of independence. After the Friday-night show, we overheard another audience member saying he had been all four of the characters at one time or another, and I think this is the play’s real strength. For my part, I certainly recognized myself in two or three of the characters (I won’t give myself away by saying which characters or why) and it is this familiarity and recognition that elevates a simple (rather comedic) premise into something much more impressive and special." -- NiftyNotCool, Lauren Kresowaty
Theatre review: AFTER is as much fun as foreplay
"While at first glance, AFTER appears to be about sex and drama, the fact that the players are sexy and attractive is secondary to their witty voyage of self-discovery and honesty. The simple set, just a bed, kept the focus on the characters and their attempt to be honest with their partners and most importantly, themselves. The female characters are the best developed and emotionally exposed, especially Indelicato’s solo monologues, baring her feelings to James over the phone. Al Miro’s James could easily have been just the hunky eye-candy, with the most sexual of the roles, but his comedic timing elevates the role from sex object to misunderstood misogynist. Simple Daniel is probably the least developed character and changes the least but McLellan humanizes what could be a forgotten character when paired against Hancock’s Jackie who fills the stage with neurosis and angst. Throw them all together and AFTER play becomes as much fun as foreplay, something everyone will enjoy and relate to. " -- Vancouver Presents, Jay Minter
After: An intimate exploration
"The audience were trapped together in the small space of the Havana Theatre with just a bed before us, being presented throughout with crumpled bed sheets and scantily clad flesh glistening with sweat which at times almost verged on voyeurism. The interactions between the characters however, the revelations and the arguments, the search for love and connection oft absent even in this most intimate of times, leaves the characters much more naked than their lack of clothes ever does. And therein lays the mastery of this play. Between the performances, playwright Martha Herrera-Lasso’s words and director Jessica Anne Nelson’s vision, the audience are presented with a posse of agonizingly recognizable characters. In fact, I implore you to watch this show and I implore you whilst watching not to empathize with a moment or a character at some point in this play, either with regards to yourself or to somebody you know. Then, when all is said and done, when barriers are broken, moments shared, truths spoken, tears shed and laughs roared, I implore you to talk about it…after." -- GVPTA News, Joe Hinks
Candid post-coital conversation takes the spotlight in AFTER
"'Everyone can identify with the characters onstage, as the topic of romantic relationships is universal,' said Jessica Anne Nelson, the production’s director. As Nelson points out, it’s all too easy to be swept away in the desire for a relationship. '[We forget to ask ourselves,] am I happy? Am I okay with being treated this way? Am I letting myself be used?'
Observed through a female perspective and in her 20s herself, Nelson, the founder of Excavation Theatre and a UBC theatre alumna, sees the internal conflicts of the female characters as the result of a bigger cultural debate about what is acceptable for a woman’s sexuality. Nelson says females in the media are either hailed as perfect virgins or smeared as sluts, and these outdated dichotomies often lead to self-loathing or doubt concerning a woman’s role in the bedroom.
Empowered by a woman in creative control, all members of AFTER’s production team are female, with the exception of the lighting designer. They are joined by a cast that features Stefania Indelicato, Al Miro, Jane Hancock and Matthew McLellan. 'More than simply expecting to laugh, the audience should be prepared for the script’s layers of intensity,' said Nelson. 'I hope this production will generate more conversation about how we treat each other.' " -- The Ubyssey, Mariam Barry
After Explores the Moments ‘After’ Sexual Intercourse Through Four Different Expectations
"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. Jane Hannock as Jackie is a believable, manipulative, double talker; Stefania Indelicato as Sandra successfully expresses the frustration of loving the wrong person... [C]onversations 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 " -- Vancouverscape, MJ Ankeman