Tony (Phoenix Shiffman) asks this show’s big question with pensive beauty: “How precious is my life?” Eric Lehman’s Aftermath shows us a world ravaged by the arrival of the bomb through the eyes of youth. Directed by Kyra Lehman, the play tackles the theme of global collaboration in order to provide for our planet, our people, and our lives-to help the future survive.
As the show opens, we find ourselves in a damaged world occupied by the young people who have inherited it. In an effort to preserve the future, these children were put into bunkers for protection. Ten years later, they have emerged as Falcons, Angels, and Dragons to share this dead world. The Falcons represent a futuristic interpretation of men, who are balanced by the elegant care of the women known as the Angels, while the Dragons stand for typical outsiders. The core conflict of Aftermath concerns the death of Buddy’s (Lao-Tzu Allan-Blitz) brother, Sonny (Kenny Galindon). For Buddy, this event conjures the pain of not being able to answer the question, “Why him and not me?” The three groups in Aftermath yearn to break down the boundaries that separate them from becoming the future of the human race, but continuous setbacks triggered by primitive human nature prevent them from reaching the coast, which is portrayed as their ultimate hope.
The show’s most fragile character is Tony, but he is healed partially through observing the growing relationship between group leaders Lucas (Mendaleyev Allan-Blitz) and Peace (Chiara Perez del Campo). Nonetheless, the enemy soon follows. Because the charismatic Dragon Bats (Jake Himovitz) accidentally killed Sonny, the Dragons must take responsibility. As their leader Buzz (Zac Frank) reminds everyone, it is better to “die for an ideal rather than to live knowing you could have righted one.”
Against a sonic backdrop of remixed Mika, Simon & Garfunkel, and Prince, these children mature at an exponential rate, abiding by the old principles that were previously disrespected by their ancestors. Aftermath is a beautifully emotional production, and the values of responsibility, forgiveness, loyalty, and love are each upheld.
The show’s abundant body work clearly required both physical strength and complete confidence on the part of the actors. Among many excellent performances, those by Frank, Himovitz, and Lao-Tzu Allan-Blitz stand out.