Perception vs Reality
After is a brilliantly written and directed play at the 59 East 59th Street Theater. Written by Michael Mc Keever (Daniel’s Husband), the play is a non stop 90-minute intermission-less high octane performance.
Mc Keever is a very talented writer and Afteris a wonderfully written play. A story more focused on what the reasons are, a deeply underlying story within the plot.
Like “Daniel’s Husband,” we are taken on a journey. What we, the audience, come away with is what we interpret. It is our decision and ours alone. That is the beauty of a Mc Keever play.
The play is based on school bullying and how the parents react and deal with the situation that has occurred. One couple, the Campbell’s, good looking, have a beautiful house and are successful. The other couple, the Beckman’s, are more about righteousness than appearances.
The play is set in three stages, “Before,” “During” and “After.” We learn more and more at each stage. More of the pieces are put together as we go along. We chose sides and we agree with some of the things and disagree with others. Why this play works so well, is because it depends which side the audience stands on. Do we like Tate Cambell who reminisces about stuffing kids in lockers when he was in high school, or do we like Connie Beckman, the whiny woman who stands on principles alone? Maybe we like Val Wallace, Julia Campbell’s sister, she brings an intermediary tone to the play.
Under Martin E. Vreeland’s lightning and Brian Prather’s scenic design, After, is a marvelous gem. Set in the Campbell’s well appointed living room, we see the many problems that the two families face, what their fears are and what they all hope for in life.
Joe Brancato’s direction is stellar. One of the best directors seen today, Brancato is as sharp as ever in After. Whether directing this show, or Cobb, Brancato is a directing force. The show’s even pace and raw emotion in this play keeps the audience wondering what will happen around the next bend. Brancato’s brilliant insight here had me enjoying this show the way I enjoyed “Daniel’s Husband.”
Equally important in this play was Gregory Gale’s costumes. Gale drew the line in class structure, from Julia Campbell’s classy high waisted pants to the plain dressed Connie Beckman. Gale also captured Val’s (Jolie Curtsinger), I don’t care, take me for who I am attitude.
The acting was superb. Mia Mathews who played Julia owned her role, a perfectionist who wanted everything in her life to appear as unblemished, a woman who worked hard for everything she has, who would stop at nothing to make her family comfortable and happy.
Michael Frederic as Tate Campbell is an insecure, successful businessman who also wants the best for his family. As the bread winner, he is protective of his son Kyle, as his wife is. Frederic puts forth a great effort in fighting off Connie (Denise Cormier), who is more aggressive than her husband, Alan ( Bill Phillips), when it comes to her son Matthew.
After plays till April 14 and should not be missed. This thought provoking play is exceptional. Mc Keever hits on a few hot button topics of today. He hits on these topics from all angles, some funny, some serious and some horrific. He keeps the politics (thankfully), to a minimum, and keeps to the subject of what the plays nexus is… Do we really control? Are we responsible for how our kids behave, and what our kids do. More to the point… Are we raising our children the right way?REVIEW
I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 12 shows on and off Broadway. I’ve seen over700 showsAll posts by robert →