Indie theatre is a tough little mistress. My investment in her, my drive to make her popular, to share her potential with just a few more people takes its toll on me. And I know it. Hackneyed theatre makes me, well, it makes me angry, if truth be told. I’m not saying that feeling is justified, but if its done really poorly it makes me want to run away from it as far and as fast as I can, and just get my storytelling fix from novels and the occasional movie. It can make me clueless as to why I would ever want to toil in its short-reaching, revenue-free depths.
And then, suddenly and quietly, I’ll find myself witness to a stage work that bursts the clouds and reminds me exactly why I love theatre so deeply. And it makes me want to stay in it forever, no matter what the price.
You should see After the Quake.
A co-pro by pi theatre and Rumble Productions, local indies that have been around for 25 and 20 years respectively, it is testament to where you can get to in the work with enough time and talent invested in it. It’s not politically charged or form-punishing or experimental, it is simply a vehicle to serve the medium: the sharing of stories. Constructed in script and direction in a way that could only be presented on an intimate stage, After the Quake understands its function from top to bottom. pi and Rumble have clearly taken all the necessary time and consideration to each of the production’s components, after-show cocktail conversation could be taken up entirely by the set design, lighting, sound design, acting, costuming, direction…this is a perfectly balanced play. And I think that’s where the inspiration I felt walking out of the theatre is borne from; the affirmation that so many forms of art must combine in harmony to make the whole truly transcendent. A play can be successful with one component out of tune, but when all are compelling it can truly take flight.
I’m very grateful when a theatrical experience moves me to gush. The hard work that went into this piece is evident, as is what I can only assume to be a rather hefty production price tag (which is the kind of thing you think about when you’re in the business of making theatre, I suppose), and it’s a powerful argument for raging against a government who would dare deem work like this unimportant. This is the frame of mind I’m going into the Wrecking Ball in tonight. This is a worthy fight.
One of the best ways to fight it is to tell everyone you can to see the work that affects you.
Check out the short promo below, they didn’t even scrimp on the poster art, which is original for this production. And there’s a little taste of the sound design as well…