Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Post-apocalyptic play meets Theatre Pro Rata in Minneapolis

Doc Woods and Grant Hooyer (pictured above)

The Ever and After by Rachel Teagle, directed by Sofia Lindgren Galloway, produced by Theatre Pro Rata at the Crane Theater in Minneapolis through Dec. 22.

In the Crane theater, transformed into darkness, the audience views a film in the beginning that displays a busy interstate suggesting emission gas, and the destruction of the planet with an atomic bomb with a speech made by the president. Lights then pan down on Thurston-the-cockroach (Doc Woods), and an amazon warrior named Sheelar (Bethany McHugh). On stage is a very simple set of two sculpture-like stacks of post-apocalyptic desert artifacts looming behind the actors.The sound of wind makes the audience feel like they are sitting among the characters who are trying to cope with survival in the desert. The two characters are introduced to Ida,(Ankita Ashrit) the bot, who says, “It’s a pleasure to engage your face in my memory banks.” Sheelar is taken aback-not knowing what to with her oddities. But Thruston reassures her, “It’s a machine, it’s not going to hurt you.”

Bethany McHugh and Doc Woods photography by Leonard Gorrill
When a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body is at stake, when politicians and the leaders of tech companies are idolized while making decisions that threaten the stability of our society, and when we learn that our daily actions are destroying our planet, it is easy to lose hope and disengage from the world around us, Sofia Lindgren Galloway director's notes.

It’s easy to see themes of survival in this play. Sheelar reviews Maslow’s pyramid, and Thurston says, “Friendship is also on that pyramid,” referring to Sheelar’s resistance in befriending their new comrade. Ida seems upset at first but lacks the words to convey her emotions, “I’m sorry my failure disturbs you, I will turn down the volume.” And, “I will break the spell through the power of friendship.”

Thurston attempts to teach Sheelar everything he knows about human existence based on his knowledge before the apocalypse and The Ever and After. Sheelar is introduced to the concept of procreation and the two look at Ida as a valuable birthing vessel after they discover her ability to procreate. "While questioning, tradesman Roger (Grant Hooyer) approaches the clan and offers to buy Ida.

In a very exciting scene, the character fight one another while defending Ida and her reproductive rights. Grant Hooyer’s rapid movements and physicality make him intimidating.

Doc Woods and Ankita Ashrit  photography by Leonard Gorrill

Doc Woods and Ankita Ashrit photography by Leonard Gorrill
In a later scene, Sheelar is told to forget Maslow’s pyramid and self actualization as the president reveals his power through lobotomy and reverse human engineering. “Unlock the imagination and you unlock raw human material," the president (Travis Bedard) says. Through the use of positive imagination he’s able to manipulate human bots into believing his power over them is safe and preferable to anger and aggression caused by exploring the world alone.

 I was worried that some of the issues brought up in this play would become dated, but it turns out that bodily autonomy and reproductive justice are more relevant than ever! Yikes. Fortunately for us humans, we have this incredible ability to create worlds other than the ones we live in. Writer, Rachel Teagle, posted in the playwright notes.

Come see a play that will charge your empathetic capacitors.

Tickets through December 22nd at or
Make a reservation by phone at 612-234-7135.

Tickets: $14 – $41, Sliding Scale, at the door.

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