Written by Alina Mae Wilson
After the Revolution follows Emma, the story’s main heroine, as she discovers a world of political intrigue, dangerous family secrets, and an unknown future for herself and other characters. This plot is not as interesting as it sounds.
Emma is committed to social justice. Her extremely left-wing father is more than supportive of her endeavors and has nurtured and encouraged her commitment to change the world since childhood. We discover early on she is the head of a fund named after her grandfather, a man who was blacklisted for his political beliefs in the 1950s. It is also revealed Emma is working on the defense for Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is being charged with the murder of a police officer and facing a lethal sentence. Though Emma has always presumed her grandfather’s innocence, she learns he was guilty of passing information to the Communists. This piece of information is utterly debilitating to her.
Fine wooden floors give this set a refined yet casual appearance of a house, and their overlap contributes nicely to multiple scenes playing simultaneously. Because of this scenery, the characters share space in an exciting and meaningful way. This aesthetic beauty is one of the most noticeable high points of the show. Yet we are not entirely without character beauty when witnessing Emma’s father.
Robert Foran brings Emma’s father, Ben, to life with sensitivity and motivation. We understand his love for his father and daughter, and his evident pain reveals his frustration during pivotal conversations. His emotion and specific moments in the play make him one of the more fleshed-out characters onstage.
The sense of wholeness I perceived from Ben is not as evident in his daughter Emma. The scriptwriter would have us perceive Emma as a solid and intelligent human, but it doesn’t come across. I felt grateful that the script required the declaration of lines announcing her state of mind– “I am scared”–because otherwise, I would have no idea what she was feeling. While Emma’s motives are pretty easy to understand, she is probably the most unsympathetic person onstage, which is a problem since the show is almost entirely focused on her. Her response to the family secret and how she deals with the vitally important task does not make her a strong contender for the “Moral Compass of the Year” award. Instead, she comes across as unreasonable and unbelievably childish.
The idea is intriguing, and the set is visually beautiful, but the lead character and the writing surrounding her ultimately disappoint.
April 10th – May 10th 2015